When I said yesterday that I didn’t have that many indulgences to begin with and therefore that finding something to give up would be a bit difficult, I confess that I fibbed just a tad.  One of the means by which I habitually get through the day is to have my radio on in the car and the office, tuned to the local classickal station.   I turned it off for Lent last year and found myself missing it a great deal, even if technically speaking it was largely background noise.  After having thought it over, I’ve decided to take the same measure again this year.

However, as far as sitting down and listening to musick in a serious way in the evenings, I’ve decided not to cut that out.  (Truth be told, the last few months I haven’t really listened formally to much musick anyway.)  However, for the season, I plan to stick strictly to spiritual works.  (Was it not Augustine who said that he who sings prays twice?)

monteverdi-vespersTo this end, I’ve got a fairly large stack of works to get through, including a lovely recording the Monteverdi 1610 Vespro della Beata Vergine and an outstanding collection of monteverdi-duets1Monteverdi duets and solos by Emma Kirby and Evelyn Tubb.

I’ve also got this powerhouse awaiting a suitable reflective moment:

bach-st-matthew The Bach St. Matthew Passion.  Regular readers of a musickal bent probably will pelt me with rocks and garbage for having put on airs up to this point when I confess that I have never actually even heard this work performed before!  I bought this CD some time last fall after reading rave reviews of it and have been saving it up for a special occassion.

handel-messiahThen there is Handel’s Messiah.  Don’t let the usual Christmas association fool you: Only the first part of the oratorio deals with Jesus’ birth – the full production goes right through his life, death and resurrection.  Indeed, if memory serves, the first performance of The Messiah took place at Easter in Dublin.

haydn-mass-time-war Another piece I intend to come back to is Haydn’s Missa In Tempore Belli, written at the height of the Napoleonic War.  I am trying out a new recording here, featuring the outstanding English Baroque Soloists under the direction of John Eliot Full-of-Himself.   A funny story about this piece:  Back in college I had a cassette of it recorded by some Soviet bloc orchestra and chorus.  I would swear that the chorus was using a Classical Latin pronunciation, not a Church Latin one.  I often wondered if this was required by the censors to keep the thing strictly a work of art and not let it get contaminated by religious cooties.

Well anyway, that’s just some of the musick I intend to listen to.  Any other suggestions – particularly from earlier periods – would be greatly appreciated.  In particular, I’ve been meaning to get into some Thomas Tallis and really don’t know where to start.