Sacred Music – Ethereal and Sublime
I just returned from another visit to Victoria’s blog, whereupon I was intrigued by this week’s Monday Morning Writing Prompt topic of Sacred Music. Last week was quite extraordinary for me, two funerals and a wedding. There was no shortage of Sacred Music to be heard and felt as a result. This particular writing prompt captured my imagination, as I have been surrounded by music all my life, and I easily resonate with its raw beauty and power to transport my mind to another plane.
The word sacred evokes the notion of reverence, devotion, or veneration with regard to a higher order of a religious or spiritual nature. For today’s prompt and reflection that follows, I selected two musical pieces that some may consider to be deeply religious in nature. I am not, however, a particularly religious person although I do consider myself spiritual. These musical pieces are excellent examples of what some call prayer, or others meditation; a conversation of a simple creature seeking and reaching out to some higher order power in a uniquely personal and private moment of serenity, tranquility, and beauty. Inspirational, ethereal, and sublime.
I cannot simply put the musical pieces up without a set-up; I am after all a musical geek. Both pieces are commonly known as the Ave Maria. First is my absolute favorite version, written by Charles Gounod in 1859 as a melody superimposed over J.S. Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C Major written in 1722. The lyric is the Hail Mary prayer in Latin.
Ave Maria – C. Gounod (1859) sung by Jessye Norman
The second selection, also a personal favorite, is commonly known as the Ave Maria, however it is actually Ellens dritter Gesang (Ellen’s Third Song), written by Franz Schubert in 1825. The song was part of a seven song Opus, a German translation of Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake epic poem. The original lyrics of the song begin with Ellen praying to the Virgin Mary to protect her and her father from harm as they hid in exile in caves near Lake Katrine from their enemies.
Ellens dritter Gesang (Ave Maria) – F. Schubert (1825) sung by Barbara Bonney
I can be an incredibly long-winded person, almost never at a loss for words, but as I close my eyes to listen and reflect upon this sacred music, I am moved and filled with a simple thought:
Life is beautiful.