Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Song: Lacrimosa

This year is the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang A. Mozart's birth, and classical music organizations all over the world have been marking the event with concerts, countdowns, and collaborations. Although I love classical music, I've never been a big fan of Mozart; Bach, Vivaldi, and Beethoven are more my style. But my perspective changed in college when our choir sang Requiem with a community orchestra in Vancouver.

Mozart composed his Requiem just before his death (it was completed by his assistant), the irony of course being that a Requiem is a funeral mass. I generally find Mozart's music to be playful and frivolous, but Requiem feels like an impassioned plea for the mercy of God--likely a result of the theology of his day. For me, the pathos of this piece is most evident in it's central movement, the "Lacrimosa".
Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla

judicandus homo reus -
Huic ergo parce, Deus.

Pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem.


That tearful day,
when from the ashes shall rise again

sinful man to be judged.
Therefore pardon him, o God.

Merciful Lord Jesus,
give them rest.

(via Antoine Valentim's site)
How do you view the final judgment; will it be a day of tears or a day of pardon? The Bible says there will be only two groups on that day--those who love God and those who are afraid of Him. In Mozart's music I feel fear...but also hope that God is merciful.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.
(1 John 4:16-18, NLT)
You can find a poor quality MP3 of the "Lacrimosa" at this Geocities page.

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