Friday, March 29, 2013

Long Friday rituals

Good Friday is when I re-up my membership in the Lutheran Church on earth.  Since I stopped attending devout observances when I was 18, I have been trying to salvage what I could from an investment of insane amounts of time and quite a bit of intellectual energy as a child in a parsonage. I have convinced myself that so long as I give a serious hearing to Bach's Saint Matthew's Passion every Good Friday, I learned what was important.  I have attended quite a few live performances over the years but this isn't always an option so I have assembled a pretty nice collection of recordings.  The ritual now includes deciding which version I want to hear.

But this year I decided I needed another SMP.  The choice was a recording conducted by Paul McCreesh and is interesting because he uses one voice for each choral part.  When I was in the Minnesota Bach Society in the early 1970s we had 40 basses.  The trend over the years has been towards smaller choruses so the logical conclusion was that at some time, the number of basses would only need to be one.  I like my Bach sung with precision—there is nothing as precise as a single voice.

But the new recording hasn't been the musical high for the week.  Not. Even. Close.  I am not sure how I found this clip, but it is a group of Pakistani men who are interpreting Brubeck's Take Five on Sitar and string ensemble.  This is just wonderful.  These guys look like a lot of other groups that get together to make music.  They are serious about their music.  The performance is carefully shot.  As someone who has been in groups like this, I found it quite touching.  Pakistan is just another country where USA kills folks at random and when I thought that one of them could be someone who made such music out of pure love, it made me want to weep.

Spring is coming. And music really IS a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan,

    I like reading your blog but comments like these make me sad:

    "Pakistan is just another country where USA kills folks at random"

    Unfortunately Pakistan is a failed state. There are a lot of nice people in Pakistan but it is also a safe haven for terrorist groups.

    My ancestors were from Pakistan. Most of them were killed because of their religious believes. Those who survived had to flee with only the shirt on their back. This was 66 years ago.

    I am sure you have read about Malala Yousafzai. Not much has changed in the last 66 years. I was at the border of Pakistan in Dec 2011. You really have to see the place to understand the sad state it is in. I think the situation was made worse by the major flood they had in 2010.

    Killing Bin Laden and his sympathizers is not such a bad thing. I personally support it completely. Just my 2c worth.