Mozart and Good Friday

My spiritual duties on this Good Friday will include participation in our musical presentations at the Cathedral. These will include Mozart’s Requiem and Ave Verum Corpus along with Allegri’s Miserere; appropriate for this very holy day of Christian faith. I will be the first to admit that Easter is not one of my favorite celebrations in the church but I understand the significance of these days.

As Lent led up to this Easter week, I focused my meditations on examination of my faith and my relationship with my faith. My examination of all that I believe has brought a renewal of where my spirituality interacts with my profession-science and medicine. I rely on my spirituality to move through my days as much as I rely on my muscles and lungs when I run. As my running grows stronger, so does my spirituality and my mental/physical strength. The changes in my mind and body are sources of questioning, acceptance and exploration for me these days.

The dean of my cathedral related the story of Mozart’s works. It seems that Mozart left the Requiem unfinished at the time of his death with some controversy about whether the young composer actually received a commission for this wonderful piece. It’s for base horns, bassoons, trumpets, trombones, tympani, and strings along with choir featuring soprano, contralto, tenor and bass soloists.  In our cathedral, with the amazing acoustics, this piece will take on a spiritual life that will be all-consuming. It is impossible to just “listen” to this piece without being absorbed by its simple and complex beauty; appropriate for this day. This is always the true genius of Mozart and appropriate for a requiem.

The Ave Verum Corpus is aurally stunning and just as consuming; another gift for Good Friday. Both pieces are worth taking a listen no matter what faith or lack of faith one describes. Mozart is relevant for anyone who loves what sound waves can do for the brain and the soul. For me, I never needed translation for these works as they were always meaningful for me since my earliest childhood memories of hours of music in the evenings by the fire with my uncle, a classical pianist who introduced them to me and my very rich memories of my late husband, excited by what he heard; sharing with me over a glass of port. My mind is entwined with memories of these two pieces always.

My discoveries on this Good Friday day of reflection, memories and service have already begun even in the early hours as I write this. I am grateful for what I have become and where I go from here. I am thankful for the new discoveries and my chances to share experiences with people in my life; extraordinary and unexpected. A bold person I have become.





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