At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 5}

We’ve made it to Week 5! I hope this Laetare week gave your family the respite and final push that I know ours needed to finish out Lent with rigor.

If you are just joining us, I’m so glad you are here! Take the plunge and begin this devotion with today’s two listenings and music appreciation lesson. Each week is independent of the last so there is no added pressure to immediately catch up on previously missed weeks. You can find more ideas for participating in this Lenten devotion at the Overview post.

For your family’s free listening pleasure, here is the whole work:

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

Would you like t more free listening to your week? The Story of Dvořák in Music and Words includes his narrated biography over specific works and  can be found in the playlist below:

Week 5

6. “Fac Me Vere Tecum Flere” – Tenor Solo and Chorus

Latin Text:

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.

English Translation:

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

7. “Virgo Virginum Praeclara” – Chorus

Latin Text:

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.

English Translation:

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

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 daughter and 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 participates in the lesson.

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:

Our music lesson today will focus on the first of our two pieces for this week, Fac Me Vere Tecum Flere”. This 6th Movement of Stabat Mater is a solo for Tenor with chorus. It has an AA’ form where the original theme is repeated, but with a few changes. After the an instrumental introduction, the soloist enters with the first motif (musical idea) on the title text followed by the echoing choir. This pattern of call and response continues throughout most of the piece. The Tenor is the higher of the two typical male vocal parts. (You can choose to further explain the remaining three vocal parts with the following:) The lower male vocal part is Bass which were heard in last week’s first listening, “Fac, Ut Ardeat Cor Meum”. The two female vocal parts are called Soprano and Alto, with Soprano having the higher vocal range and Alto the lower.

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 while raising their hands or standing up when the melody alternates from being sung by the soloist to the choir. Students may also draw what they hear in the music or tap out the 1-4 of the beat. If drawing is chosen, the picture may be whatever the children imagines, however detailed or abstract.

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. In this section you may choose to have your family listen to the piece one last time while pointing out the elements of the music they recognize. Your family may also go straight on to the discussion. In the language of music who sings or plays a certain part of the music is called “voicing”. Were your students able to hear the change in voicing on their own when the melody swapped from soloist to choir and back? Can anyone share differences between the A and A’ portions of the music? Were any instrument families or individual instruments recognized in the piece? The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response. If you know what vocal part you or another family member sings, that may be discussed here as well.



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