Sunday, November 02, 2008

All Souls'

The video is here.

Try to ignore the stupid graphics.

Instead, concentrate on how Faure's music illuminates the text.

The In Paradisum's text is a prayer that the soul of the departed will ascend into Paradise. So the first image you hear is occasioned by the flute and harp's arpeggios. The text refers to 'angels leading you into Paradise,' and those arpeggios become a representation of Jacob's Ladder.

Next, note that the boys' voices sing the entire prayer. Youth represents innocence.

Also note that the full choir only sings three bits of the text: Jerusalem, Requiem, and Aeternum habeas requiem---respectively, "Jerusalem", "Rest", and "May you have eternal rest". So the full choir's utilization connects these three, making them identities. The full choir also represents the Angelic choir, signifying the proximity (or perhaps entry) of the soul to paradise--and OUR proximity-yet-distance.

Finally, the piece is written in D major, the "key of joy," (also used for the fourth movement of Beethoven's 9th, the "Magnificat" and "Gloria Patri" of Bach's Magnificat, etc.). At the same time, it is not boisterous. It is peaceful, quiet, and relaxed. "Slipped the surly bonds of Earth" comes to mind, because that's what Faure wanted to impart.

Let us all hope that this prayer is the last one we hear...

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