Sunday, April 1, 2012


On this Palm Sunday and Holy Week, I offer a musical entry-way to the final steps of the journey through the Garden, to Golgotha, and finally to the Empty Tomb.  If I may, I would like to introduce this piece with a personal experience of it...
A couple of years ago I was in the church of Santa Prassede in Rome--a magnificent church around the corner from Santa Maria Maggiore.  In its so-called "Zeno Chapel" (decorated with incredible mosaics) is an alcove containing a broken piece of a column, reputed to be the one at which Our Savior was scourged.
As I was speaking to some friends about the mosaics, a young priest came in with about 20 teen-aged girls--they were from Germany.  He took them to the alcove and told them the story:  then they spontaneously (it seemed to me) began to sing the famous Passion Chorale in 4-part harmony:  heart-breakingly beautifully.  I hummed quietly the bass line of it (apart from them, not really along with them).  Their devotion really made my morning.  The music itself (as Bach adapted it for his Passions) is below. 
It's the home-stretch:  let's make it a truly HOLY Holy Week.

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