Singing in Dark Times
During our time of confinement, I was most thankful to be with my family. It’s a lot of people in one house. There’s a lot of noise and it is often chaotic, but my kids are cool people and it was a gift to have the extra time together. My husband, aside from being my best friend, is also a professional musician so we tried to use our “extra time” to collaborate by recording some of our favorite songs.
The first song that we decided to record is ‘O Rest in the Lord’ by Felix Mendelssohn from his Oratorio Elijah. I first learned this song in 2005. It was one of the first solos that I ever learned to sing. And about a year ago my husband told me that he absolutely loved when I sing this song and that sometimes when he is really stressed, he imagines me singing it and it calms him down. Naturally, I felt that this would be a wonderful song to record; that way when things get a little too chaotic, we can play it for ourselves or possibly anyone else who may find it a help to them.
The second song that we recorded is another one of my husband’s favorites. It is the Pie Jesu from Maurice Durufle’s Requiem. In addition to having performed the entire work together in 2017, my husband Zachary and I have performed this song for many funerals. This time we actually recorded this for a virtual Memorial Concert for a friend of ours’ mother who died amidst this pandemic. She was not affected by the coronavirus but unfortunately, due to the restrictions in place at the time, we could not be at the funeral or provide music in person. The English translation of the text of the song “Pie Jesu” is:
Pious Lord Jesus,
Give them rest.
Pious Lord Jesus,
Give them everlasting rest.
This was the only way for us to offer musical consolation in a socially distant way. Hopefully, anyone else who is healing from a loss may find the music and text as a consolation as well.
The last song we recorded is one of my favorites. It is the Ave Maria from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. This not an actual aria from the opera. It is the Intermezzo (an intermezzo is a composition which is performed between two acts of a play, opera, operetta or movements of a larger musical work). The words of the Ave Maria, sung in Italian, were added to this music later and is now often performed as a concert aria. I love this song. It beautifully implores the Virgin Mary’s intercessions in our lives. Something we all need daily and certainly even more so during these trying times.
God bless you and happy listening!