Thursday, December 24, 2009

Music for Advent

Christopher Orczy

And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste,
into a city of Judah;
and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth.
And it came to pass,
when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary,
the babe leaped in her womb;
and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost;
and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry,
and said,
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
And whence is this to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?
For behold,
when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears,
the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
And blessed is she that believed;
for there shall be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.

And Mary said,
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaiden:
For behold,
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
And holy is his name.
And his mercy is unto generations and generations on them that fear him.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.
He hath put down princes from their thrones,
And hath exalted them of low degree.
The hungry he hath filled with good things;
And the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen Israel his servant,
That he might remember mercy
(As he spake unto our fathers)
Toward Abraham and his seed for ever.

And Mary abode with her about three months,
and returned unto her house.
Luke 1:39-56 RV
I have just completed the final part of my Advent trilogy. The first part, Annunciation, was completed in 2007. You can read more about that here. The third part, Nativity, was completed in 2008. More about that here.

This last piece comes in between the two, as will be noticed by the above Gospel reading, concerns Mary's visit to Elizabeth, just after being informed about what is to occur.

Where in Annunciation, I wanted to treat the dialog between Gabriel and Mary, with Visitation I wanted to give two portraits of the two women involved. There are similar themes and sonorities between the two pieces, as both women are talking about the same thing: Christ.

I suppose this work may sound a bit gloomy, especially for a reading that is essentially joyous. While it may be a wondrous thing that has occurred, the shadow of the cross is looming.

Please forgive my take on this. It certainly isn't what I would preach on this passage. I do invite you to listen to the now complete Advent album. These pieces express my feelings of the Incarnation. The most wonderful thing to occur is also very difficult to understand. The immensity of the event is unfathomable.

These pieces also reflect my journey as a Christian. I experienced my conversion on Christmas Day 2006, and I knew at that point all future compositions would be devoted to the faith. I also knew I could no longer expect money for doing so.

You can download Advent for free here.

Enjoy these pieces, and have a very merry Christmass.

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