Monday, February 16, 2009

779. Juxtaposition

I love choral music, although it's been awhile since I've listened to it for any length of time. But every once in a while I get a fierce urge to hear the order and exuberance of Bach, or the earthy joy of Brahms, and surf the web after I've exhausted my CD collection to find any new jewels. One recent journey led me to this Live365 streaming radio station:

Choral Treasures

(They also have a page here:

All manner of masses and motets old and new. Composers I've heard of, others obscure. A long time ago I felt a little like a traitor when I listened to church music: how dare I find it so spiritual when it wasn't my own tradition? But God is as present for me in these sounds as in the liturgy I hear every Shabbat. We humans speak many languages, so God must as well. Sacred choral music is one I happened to understand well, and intertwined voices in exuberant harmony reaches as deeply into my heart as any other prayer. Even more so, at times.

(I had an interesting experience yesterday when I found a haftarah trop sof pasuk video on YouTube and turned up the sound, forgetting that the choral station was playing when I muted the computer a few minutes earlier. So I heard the rabbi's trop above a Gregorian one, and for a few moments thought the juxtaposition was on purpose. It sounded really cool and avant garde; how clever to underscore the universality of chanted music in this way. But than I realized the pairing was accidental. Or maybe not.)

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