This morning, as I was reconnecting favorite sites on my browser, I ran across a YouTube channel for one of my favorite musical groups, Ensemble Polaris (image, left). What a fantastic collection of insanely different musical instruments and styles. Highly commended. If I ever formed a musical ensemble, I would strive for this variety of repertoire and musicianship.
I’ve also been drawn to Sequentia above the other groups interpreting the music of Hildegard of Bingen. I can’t quite describe the sense I get listening to this ensemble. I feel drawn into a circle, a protected place. An intimate place. I was listening to this older recording yesterday. As I’ve progressed through Mark’s Gospel this Lent in my daily lectio divina, I’ve been finding the spiritual landscape quite dry. After toughing it out in Judges, this doesn’t really surprise me. But yesterday Hildegard offered a softening of the recent landscapes. Or seascapes. I never recalled Jesus spending so much of Mark’s Gospel going here and there and back in a boat. The overall sense I get from it is a dizziness, which likely reflects more my own inner spiritual seascapes.
Heading into Holy Week, I think I’ll plan to listen to more music. If I had an iPod, it might be easier to incorporate listening into my prayer time. As it is, hauling a player and headphones along with a Bible and journal seems too busy to be bothered with. One of my spiritual directors once expressed surprise I rarely found listening to music prayerful. He gave me Spem in alium, which I found magnificent. But music listening seems to me to stand off a bit from praying. Music playing, on the other hand …
Music for Holy Week, for the end days of Lent. What would you recommend?