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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Music Video: Psalm 51 after Pergolesi

I sang a sparer, far less elegant version of Psalm 51 yesterday evening at the vigil Mass. The Miserere — from the first word in the Latin translation of this psalm - is one of my favorite psalms, despite its penitential character. I appreciate having words to directly acknowledge the ways I fail — no waffling — but I also love the way the psalmist pleas, not just for mercy, not just for forgiveness, but for wisdom, for growth.

It's rainy and cool here today — a soft healing rain that we need badly, a surcease from the heat of summer. This somber, gentle arrangement of Psalm 51 - Bach's riff on Pergolesi's Stabat Mater - fit my contemplative mood.

Bonus music: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater is another favorite. When I made the Long Retreat, one of the other three women along wanted music to accompany her through the contemplations of the Passion. I (who wanted utter silence) lent her my iPod for the week, loaded with the music she'd wanted (Bach's St. Matthew's Passion) plus the rest of my Lenten list, and a note saying that if she needed help with the device to ask our mutual director for help. A couple of days later, my director wanted to know just how many different version's of the Stabat Mater I'd left Yvonne! More than I could tell him offhand....

What did you sing this week? Was the mood penitential or joyful? or a mix of both?


  1. my silent retreats always have to include music....I don't talking or conversation, but music points me to the divine, as does this...

  2. Mine generally do, too, and on this one I used music liberally -- right up to the start of the contemplations of the Passion....


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