Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Holy Week & Easter

It's an, as yet, unfulfilled ambition of mine to sing Tenebrae in Holy Week. I just never seem to get the time off work to join others in singing this most wonderful solemn music, when it's been done in other parts of the country. The chances of it happening in Yorkshire are virtually nil at the moment. A few years ago, the then Schola Greg of Northumbria managed it at Fr Michael Brown's parish in Forest Hall, and if you're in or around Edinburgh do make the effort to go to the Metropolitan Cathedral where the St Andrew's & Edinburgh Schola will be singing.

Apart from Tenebrae, another ambition is to sing the Passion. Again this hasn't happened yet due to lack of time and people. Whilst it would be wonderful to have a polyphonic setting performed [liturgically of course], I'd quite happily settle for chant!

As for the Triduum, I'm at a loose end this year as there's not a lot happening musically in the York area. Last Year I took part in the first EF Triduum to be held in Yorkshire for several years, perhaps even since the 1960's. Sadly this isn't happening this weekend, but I know from my own experience in organising services, the difficulties that can be encountered purely from an admin point of view. It's bad enough to organise the Ordinary Form, so just imagine how much more difficult the EF is, especially when you have a full time job to do as well! It's well worth it though, and I hope that sometime in the future, we'll be able to do it again.

So, that leaves me a 'free agent' so to speak, and as the Orthodox/Byzantine Catholic Easter is the same as the West this year, I have plenty of options. The music programme at Leeds Cathedral is excellent, but I'm reluctant to go there because the older I get, the more claustrophobic I seem to become, and I'm pretty sure the place will be packed, which for me would be a very uncomfortable experience despite the music. I do intend to go back there occasionally to see how my choral successors are faring...

I shall certainly be at the Greek Orthodox Church in Leeds though for one or two services. If I can get there on Friday evening I'll be taking part in the SERVICE of EPITAPHIOS (Burial of The Lord & Harrowing of Hell). This is an amazing service in which the Epitaphion [tomb] is taken out in procession around the local streets surrounding the church, during which hymns are sung in Greek and English. I don't know if this happens in other Orthodox/Greek-Catholic churches, but if you're near a Greek Orthodox church, do see if they have this service. The one in Leeds commences at 6.30pm with the procession starting about an hour later.

I shall certainly be at the Greek Church on Sunday for VESPERS OF LOVE [Gospel in Many Languages], as I've been asked to read the Gospel in Latin (& possibly German too if nobody else there will do it!) This is always followed by what can only be described as the 'mother of all barbecues' and has to be seen [& tasted] to be believed!

What I'll probably miss out on though is the Resurrection Liturgy which starts at 10.30pm and goes on for 4 hours. Another awesome experience, especially when 'Christos Anesti' is sung, but I don't want to be out that late as I'm not in the best of health right now, and need to be in tip-top condition, or as close to it as possible, for the following weekend as I'm singing for a Solemn Nuptial Mass [OF] in Glasgow, followed immediately by the EF Training Conference at Ushaw!
(See here for details of the services that are readily accessible to the public. ALL Services will be open to anyone, but I can't imagine too many visitors in the chapel at 8.00am for Lauds, or 9.30pm for Compline!)

I'm told the services at Ampleforth are worth going to, so may just go there for the Vigil, though I note that it's also likely to be beyond midnight when it finishes - but probably not 2.30am!

Wherever you are, may I wish you a Blessed final few days of Holy Week, and a very Happy Easter. I'll try not to over-indulge on the Lamb on Sunday afternoon, perhaps just 5 courses should suffice! ;-)

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