Here we are, Week 2 of our Lenten journey, At The Foot Of The Cross. I hope your family was able to ease on into this penitential season last week with the aid of Our Lady of Sorrows and Antonin Dvořák’s Stabat Mater. If you are just now finding us, go ahead and jump in with today’s listening selection and music lesson. Feel free to visit last week’s post here if you would like to catch up or see more ideas for participating in this devotion with us. Our music appreciation lessons do NOT build on each other, so please do what fits into your family’s schedule and energy level.
Like last week, the whole work can be found for free listing in the playlist below:
Dvořák’s Stabat Mater
I also discovered that The Story of Dvořák is on Spotify. Each hour long CD in this series presents works of a different composer overlaid with short narrations about their life. You may choose to incorporate these tracks in your family’s future free listening as well.
Movement 2: “Quis Est Homo, Qui Non Fleret” – Quartet
Quis est homo, qui non fleret
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
Quis non posset contristari
Piam Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?
Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum.
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
dum emissit spiritum.
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?
For the sins of His own nation,
She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:
She beheld her tender Child,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
For our lessons this Lent, we will be using our family’s easy ABC method for listening with purpose. It is a simple three step process that can be used with the whole family and all ages. Your family will be listening to the piece with purpose at least once with specific actions in mind. The whole lesson typically takes around 15 minutes to complete if you include all three steps. It can be expanded based on length of pieces and the extent of conversation. This method is intentionally adaptable to fit all families in hopes that it will aid in fostering a love of music and meaningful connections in your home. Read through the lesson beforehand, then pull out and use what you know will work with your child(ren). Don’t be afraid to include the youngest of children too! My 1 year old goddaughter just dances around while listening and that is perfect!
Our Easy ABCs for Music Appreciation
Begin by gathering everyone together for your family listening time. Our family reads the text and translation then plays the piece for the day. At the bottom of this post is a worksheet for Instrument Bingo that you may print for each child to participate. All instruments shown are in the piece. (Just click on the picture to download) If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I want these lessons to be as user friendly as possible!
You can share what you like from the following or use it as an easy script:
This week we are listening to the second movement of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, “Quis Est Homo, Qui Non Fleret”. The piece is a quartet, written for four solo voices. Woodwinds and strings, like flute, oboe, violin, and bass, are featured in the orchestration. Each voice enters one after the other with the same melody (tune). As a new voice begins to sing the earlier voice(s) switch to singing the harmony, also called “counterpoint”in the language of music. The form of this piece is ABA with a coda, or “tail”, added to the end. The first section of this movements continues until the third stanza beginning with “Pro peccatis suae gentis”, “For the sins of His own nation”. Here the tone of the piece shifts, listen carefully to here it. This B section contains the last two stanzas of this week’s text. Listen for the return of the A section and the opining melody and text, “Quis Est Homo, Qui Non Fleret”. Finally the coda (small musical idea tacked onto the end of a segment like a puppy dog tail.) brings a sudden change in dynamics (the way the music is sung and/or played) to piano (“quiet”) with the last stanza showing Christ’s death and fading away with “Dum emissit spiritum” (“Till His spirit forth He sent”).
Now onto the main processes of our Listening ABCs.
A – Attentive Listening
Before you play the piece for the first time, ask your family to close their eyes and listen silently. Ask them to try and get a feeling, picture, or story in their mind of what the music reminds them of. They may remember some of the text translation read earlier. We really want them to get their imaginations running for this first listening. Ask them to share what they saw in the music. There is no right or wrong answer.
B – Bodily Movement
Now we’re going to add a bodily movement to help our brains connect our memory and the music. Your family may listen to the piece a second time here using the Instrument Bingo worksheet provided below. Younger children may have an easier time circling or coloring the instrument your family hears while older children may be able to write the names of the instruments too. Older children might like the competition of racing siblings to see who can hear the most instruments or hear them more quickly.
C – Conversation
This concluding segment is where we talk about the elements we hear in the music. Each time your family listens with purpose using these ABCs, they will hear and be able to verbalize more and more. Any observation is welcome and should be praised during this listening. After Instrument Bingo is done, discuss what was heard. Did anyone notice the piano (soft, quiet) ending? How about the ABA form of the piece? Now you could remind them of that coda (tail) on the end as well. The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response. There is no wrong answer to this question.
(Just click on the picture to download)