April 05, 2007

Rewards that will be great somewhere

Easter-Day measures 1-5
It's Holy Week, the most important hebdomad in the Christian calendar. Since I'm a church musician, this means that my week has essentially been vacuumed up and pulverized into a fine, delicate powder. Music ministers may vary in piety and theological aptitude, but I'll tell you this much: we all have an appreciation of Ordinary Time that far surpasses those in the pews. (Another church musician I know once referred to the day after Easter as "Good Monday.")

I chalk this up as another occupational hazard—the fact that performing musicians don't get to enjoy the experience the way audiences do. For example: if we wallow in the sadness of a sad piece, or the exultation of an exultant piece, it's liable to distract us from the things we have to concentrate on in order to communicate that sadness or exultation to the listener. On the other hand, we get the intellectual and kinesthetic satisfaction of building the edifice, rather than just apprehending it. It's more than a fair trade; but it means that we can't share certain, crucial parts of the audience's experience.

So like Christmas, I'll have my Easter holiday sometime after everyone else's is over. (I wonder if my synagogal counterparts have the same feelings about Passover or High Holy Days. "Why is this night different from every other night?" Because there's no extra rehearsal.) Anyhow, to expiate my sin of blasphemous complaining, you can now download the rest of the Easter introit up there for free—for free—at the Choral Public Domain Library. It's on its third go-round with my choir, and it's unusual in that they actually like it. Wonders never cease.

Update: The CPDL link has gone dead, so here's the score:

Easter-Day (2005) (PDF, 2 pages, 115 Kb)


viola power said...

It could be worse- you could be married to a church musician, and spend your whole week attempting to keep them sane.

Matthew said...

My wife feels your not inconsiderable pain.