Saturday, April 15, 2006

Some Easter Listening Suggestions

With the shift to the sunny side of the Vernal Equinox (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) comes the occasion of spring and the Easter reflections on rebirth, resurrection and renewal. Every year around this time I try to put on a few works of music that either directly or indirectly relate to the spiritual expressions that expanding daylight hours provoke.

Passio by Arvo Part. This is an incredibly beautiful recording performed by the Hilliard Ensemble (bathed in rich ECM-flavored reverb). The text is an account of the resurrection story from the New Testament that unfolds in choral splendor for just over an hour. As an expression of devotion and love this work hints at intimidating depths of faith.

Requiem, op. 5 by Hector Berlioz. I first heard this work on an Easter Sunday as an undergraduate student and it has stuck with me ever since.

Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams. Solemn devotion that swings.

Angel Song by Kenny Wheeler. With Kenny Wheeler on trumpet and flugelhorn, Lee Konitz on alto saxophone, Bill Frisell on guitar and Dave Holland on acoustic bass. This is a great quartet of musicians who each musically mean a great deal to me individually coming together to realize an inspired set of compositions by Wheeler.

Chrysalid Requiem by Toby Twining. Sacred prose set with incredible harmonic range. There's plenty for open ears to drink in with this one.

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. Possibly the most sacred work of them all.

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