Had a rather bad day yesterday - not physically, but emotionally. I was grumpy and touchy and didn't much feel like being polite to God, which was not good it being Sunday. So apologies to people I was more than usually rude to. Puzzling why it might be, my conclusion's been that John's death and the service affected me more than I was conscious of. I'm used to funerals and grief and so on, obviously; but our having shared MND and faith, I suppose, gave this added potency, or got a bit deeper. After lunch today I turned on the radio in the sitting room. It was tuned to Radio 3. It was a concert performance of Bach's St John Passion from Cleveland in the US given by Apollo's Fire (aka Cleveland Baroque Orchestra) conducted by Jeannette Sorrell and IN ENGLISH. * It was electric. And I just listened to it for the rest of the afternoon. In case you don't know, it's basically St John's account of Jesus' last hours from when he goes to the Garden of Gethsemane till his death on the cross, with poems and meditation on the way. It's achingly beautiful music, and was performed with wonderful vividness and intensity. There's one aria after Jesus' death where the bass sings with the chorus doing a backing track. The only version I can find is a bit quaint, but you'll get the point.
My precious Saviour, let me ask thee,
(Backing) Jesus, thou who suffered death,
Since thou upon the cross wast fastened
And said thyself, "It is fulfilled,"
(B) Livest now forever,
Am I from dying been made free?
(B) In the final throes of death
(B) Nowhere other guide me
(B) Can I through this thy pain and dying
The realm of heaven inherit?
Is all the world's redemption here?
(B) But to thee, redeemer mine,
(B) O thou, my dear master!
Thou canst in pain, indeed, say nothing;
Give me just what thou hast earned,
But thou dost bow thy head
(B) And sayest in silence, "Yes."
(B) More I cannot wish for!
More I cannot wish for!
Yes, indeed. I think I'm more human now. An odd thing is, unlike most Radio 3 broadcasts, you can't listen to that one again (presumably to do with rights). Was it just chance I tuned in?
*(I hate it when purists insist on music being sung in a language the audience can't understand. Sing Verdi in Italian in Italy, Janacek in Czech in Czech Republic - but allow us to understand it, please! Just don't be an elitist snob.)