Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Musical Interlude

After a short interlude (because sometimes real life gets in the way of the virtual one...): a musical post.

Just as Advent brings with it a succession of performances of the Messiah, so Lent and Passiontide mean only one thing in the world of vocal music: Bach Passions. Galore. I myself am singing in a forthcoming performance of the St. John Passion and have been given the aria 'Ich folge dir gleichfalls' to render (with any luck as one ought to render beautiful 18th century music and not as one renders fat...)

The aria is a deceptively simple (almost twee) but conveys a fundamental and exciting message. It is imagined as being sung by the 'other disciple' with Simon Peter in Gethsemane:

Ich folge dir gleichfalls mit freudigen Schritten
I follow you likewise with joyful steps
Und lasse dich nicht,
and do not leave you
Mein Leben, mein Licht.
my life, my light
Befördre den Lauf
Bring me on my way
Und höre nicht auf,
and do not cease
Selbst an mir zu ziehen, zu schieben, zu bitten.
to pull, push and urge me on.

I find that in Lent I need a lot of 'urging on' - it's all very well on Shrove Tuesday thinking, 'right, this is it, no more of this, that or the other' - but the long haul is quite another thing. Still, I find that the refrain of this aria is a good sustaining force.


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