Weekly reflections from one of the Cathedral clergy.
Weekly reflections from one of the Cathedral clergy.
Please open the pdf files of the orders of service for use with the videos.
Thursday 21 January
Sunday 24 January
11.00 am Sung Eucharist on the Third Sunday of Epiphany
A range of prayer resources can be found here
Find out more about pilgrimage here
Resources to enrich music in worship can be found here
Date: Sunday 17 January
Led by: The Canon Precentor
Date: Sunday 10 January
Date: Sunday 10 January
Led by: The Dean
Date: Tuesday 19 January
In dulci Jubilo by Paul Manz, performed by Dan Soper.
Written Reflection by Canon Stephen Mitchell
The writer of In Dulci Jubilo was the 14th century theologian Heinrich Seuse. His biographer tells how Seuse heard the carol being sung by angels, one of whom invited him to join in a dance.
“Now this same angel came up to the Servant and said that God had sent him down to him, to bring him heavenly joys amid his sufferings; adding that he must cast off all his sorrows from his mind and bear them company, and that he must also dance with them in heavenly fashion. Then they drew the Servant by the hand into the dance, and the youth began a joyous song about the infant Jesus …”
Peter Manz’s arrangement of the carol could almost be a picture of the angel leading the writer in that simple dance.
According to the same biography, when Seuse was a young man he subjected himself to all kinds of self-inflicted pain – wearing an undergarment studded with a hundred and fifty brass nails, taking as his bed a very uncomfortable door and a cross with thirty protruding needles and nails. The vision encouraged him to “cast off all his sorrows” and rid himself of these mortifications.
We aren’t called as Christians to live a life of self-inflicted suffering but one which rejoices in goodness and opportunities to serve others who might be suffering and in pain. May today’s music lift our hearts and put a spring in our step.
Date: Monday 18 January
Libera Me from Fauré Requiem, performed by Sam Vernon, ex-cathedral chorister.
Written by Rev’d Nick Woodcock, former Minor Canon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Deliver me from eternal Death on that fearful day,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire…..
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord,
And let light perpetual shine upon them.
Among settings of the Requiem Mass, Fauré’s is unique. It does not adhere to the time-honoured liturgical text, and as the composer saw death as a gentle release from earthly life, the horrors of the Day of Judgement are almost disregarded. The ‘Dies irae’, whose torments Verdi represented in the most vivid terms, is reduced to a brief interpolation in the ‘Libera me’ (‘Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death’), and the work is serene and contemplative, the text purposely chosen to emphasise the word ‘requiem’, ’a paradisiacal imagining with no trace of torment or of doubt, scarcely even of mourning’.
Temperamentally, Fauré could not tackle a detailed picture of Hell in a ‘Dies irae’, or portray a terrifying scene of anguish. His primary concern was the beauty of his music. The terrors of the afterlife are hardly more than touched upon. The music of Fauré’s Requiem evokes comfort, dwelling on the fundamentally good nature present in everything.
Fauré wrote of the work, “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”
A long career as a church organist accompanying the burial services of countless Parisians left the composer with a more philosophical attitude to death. In a 1902 interview, Fauré, “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”
It stands as one of Fauré’s greatest achievements, which is to say one of the finest works in all of French music.
O God, each day and every moment coms from you as a gift;
enable us to live fully in the present, cherishing the moment that is now ours:
And when finally we meet you face to face, transform us in the fire of your love,
and receive us into your Kingdom. Amen
Date: Friday 15 January
Psalm 23 to an Anglican Chant by Wilfred Mothersole (former Assistant Organist). Performed by Katherine and Dan Soper.
An Alternative version of Psalm 23, written by Reverend Benjamin Edwards, Cathedral Curate.
God is my guide, and so I won’t need anything but the Lord on this journey.
God tells me when I should rest, leading me to tranquil places full of life and plenty,
to deep, refreshing water, full of wisdom that feeds my soul.
God leads me on the right way, although not always easy going, because God knows the best paths, knows every twist and turn, and which way leads to life best lived.
Even though some paths may lead through the darkest, most foreboding troughs and swales,
I need not fear destruction, malice or entropy, because even then God will guide me through the shadows, correcting my course, urging me onward, protecting my soul.
Right there, in the middle of everything this world can throw at me,
God has made a place of fellowship and feasting, and untouchable place
where God blesses me with attention, and marks me as one of God’s own children.
From this table, that blessing and claim and love for me follows me wherever I go,
and however long it takes me to journey,
and I know that my home is within the Trinity, now and always, into the truth of eternity.
Date: Thursday 14 January
Give us the wings of faith by Ernest Bullock. Performed by Sanderstead Singers.
Written by Reverend Sarah Geileskey, Cathedral Curate.
There is a pattern to life that persists in good times and in bad. There is morning, there is evening. There is a rhythm, birth, life, death – we may be acutely aware of this amidst the Covid-headlines – but there is a reassuring certainty in this, when much around us is uncertain.
Isaac Watts’ familiar words seem to encourage us to look to the hope of a bright future, that we one day might find the promised rest. Just not yet. So as I hear this music I’m glad to be reminded of the words which are currently praying daily at Morning Prayer…
They who wait on upon the Lord shall renew their strength:
They shall mount up with wings as eagles. Is.40:31
Give us the wings of faith to rise, that one day we might indeed join the saints above in eternal rest. And in the meantime, through the gift of music might we be today given the wings of faith to rise and wait on the Lord and to receive rest enough for today’s step of the journey.
Give us the wings of faith to rise
Within the veil, and see
The Saints above, how great their joys,
How bright their glories be.
We ask them, whence their victory came
They with one united breath
Ascribe the conquest to the Lamb
Their triumph to His death.
They marked the footsteps that He trod,
His zeal inspired their breast;
And following their incarnate God
They reached the promised rest.
Date: Wednesday 13 January
Toccata from Symphony No.5 by Widor, performed by Music Advisor, William Saunders.
Written reflection by Canon Stephen Mitchell
Today, William lifts our spirits, playing the fifth movement of Widor’s Fifth Symphony for organ.
Charlies-Marie Jean Albert Widor held the top organist post in France at the church of St Suplice and organ professorship at the Conservatoire. To list his predecessors, succesors and pupils in these post is to roll out a veritable red carpet of composers and organists: Cesar Frank, Camille Saint-Saëns, Marcel Dupré, Louise Vierne, Charles Tonemire, Darius Milhaud and Albert Schweitzer, with whom he published an annoted edition of Bach’s organ music.
Widor wrote many compositions including operas and ballets and pieces for a variety of instruments and ensembles. Inspired by the the church’s organ, built by the most distinguished organ builder of the 19th century, Aristole Cavaillé-Coll, Widor created the organ ‘symphony’.
The excitement of the Toccata comes not only from its imporovistory nature and strong pedal line and harmony but the way it shifts dramatically through almost all the twelve keys.
Sit back, enjoy, rejoice!
Date: Tuesday 12 January
‘Petite Pièce’ by Joseph Jongen – performed by Elli-Mae McGlone, Cathedral Organ Scholar.
Written Reflection by the Rev’d Nick Woodcock, former Minor Canon of St Edmundsbury
Jongen’s Life was not without drama and dread. He was exiled from Belgium to England during WWI, later taking up the Directorship of the Brussels Conservatoire. During 1944 he received the news that his son had been arrested by the Gestapo and it left him without the will to live. He became morbid, later describing how he felt like a rag, incapable of anything. The year 1944 he simply referred to as deathly, but the tone changes dramatically at the end of March 1945: ‘Jacques was in Buchenwald … Suddenly … we learnt that he was in Weimar and was soon to be liberated by the Americans—WHAT A RESURRECTION! He began writing again, firstly a fine setting of the Mass.
Therein lies an example for us all during the uncertain days ahead. No matter what tribulations beset us, God is with us. That is the message of Christmas. And of the Feast of Epiphany. By the time the Magi arrived in Bethlehem they must have been tired, dusty, wondering whether they should give up; but they didn’t. They went on, following the star. God was with them, as He is with us. God is with us. This is the hope-full message of the Season — and of lockdown — for today and always.