I've never made copies or studies of paintings, but this afternoon has shown me why it's such a valuable exercise: I learned so much doing this study! What interested me most about Rembrandt's painting was not the ascending Christ surrounded by cherubim, but this brilliant grouping of the apostles to the right, watching him leave. You almost don't need the figure of Christ at all: his light is reflected in the blond figure at the center and on the faces and hands. The range of emotions portrayed tells the entire story.
We're having a particularly nice musical day tomorrow, in honor of Ascension Day (which was on Thursday.) It's one of our half-choir Sundays, so a smaller group (12-14 of us, probably) will be singing the following program, much of it by Purcell, for Evensong, which you can hear streamed live at 4:00 p.m. eastern daylight time. (The link is below.) Our organist and choir director, Patrick Wedd, is a leading interpreter of the organ music of Olivier Messiaen. On Thursday he played the entire work, L’Ascension, by Messiaen as a concert. But you can hear two parts of it as the prelude and postlude, during the live broadcast tomorrow.
PROGRAMME: 4:00 pm Evensong
The Cathedral Singers, Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal
(For live streaming via Radio Ville Marie, click here)
Prelude: Majesté du Christ from L’Ascension [Trotter: musicMe], Olivier Messiaen (1908-92)
Introit: O God, the king of glory [text] [Brown: YouTube], Henry Purcell (1659-95)
Preces and Responses: [Westbury: YouTube] Richard Ayleward (1626-69
Psalm: 24 (Bamby)
Canticles: Service in B-flat [Pinnock: YouTube], Henry Purcell
Anthem: Ascendens Christus [text], Jacob Handl (1550-91)
Postlude: Prière du Christ from L’Ascension [Trotter: musicMe], Olivier Messiaen
I'm sorry you won't be able to hear a live performance of Couperin's fantastic "Motet pour le jour de Pâcques" ("Motet for Easter Day") which will be sung tomorrow morning by two of my friends, Cynthia Gates and Meagan Zantingh, both professionals in our choir. However, if you want to hear the piece, here's a YouTube performance of the same work, sung by Emma Kirkby and Judith Nelson with Christopher Hogwood on the organ. (Just ignore the drecky artwork!)
Hope some of you can join us tomorrow. It always makes me happy to think that a few friends are out there listening! Next week is Pentecost, so stay tuned.
(Publishing this one a day early, since I'll be in church all day tomorrow.)