One might think that, living in a more isolated area as I do, and staying in a lot while my arm heals, as I have done, that I might not catch (or be caught by) any of the foul cold contagion that has been swooping through grocery stores and malls. But alas, whatever little I did out there in the populated world was the wrong thing to do, and I have spent this day with chills and sniffles and sneezes. Tired of hearing all that, I have been listening to music of all kinds. Here is today's favorite.
In February two years ago, I flew to Chicago to be part of one of the
most deeply moving projects of my career, a live recording session for
Roman Hurko's choral Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. This Ukranian Catholic
work is the first in that tradition to be written in English
(rather than translated into English). The work was premiered in New
York two months later, and again I was privileged to be in the choir.
I cried a lot over this music, and still do, though not because of its complexity. In fact, it is disarmingly simple to sing. Any congregation with the habit of singing in parts could manage the choral pieces. But it touches something very profound in me, deep in the bright dark place from which I say, "Lord, I believe!" and then right after that, "and… help my unbelief." The rising, swirling Alleluia is particularly beautiful. The whole liturgy is sung without accompaniment, and, as one reviewer said, "From the very first “Amen,” one knows that the Kingdom has come in power (see Mark 9: 1)."
This is one of several recordings I turn to when I need to feel stronger, more hale, hearty, and human; even when the music soars, it has the unique earthy quality of mortal voices, and it reminds me I am not alone.
You can read more about this music and the rest of Roman's work, listen to some tracks, and order the CD, here.
While you do that, I'm going to make tea.