At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 6}

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Week 6! We are quickly traversing towards the grandeur of Jerusalem, the whirlwind of Holy Week, and the pageant of the Triduum.  I can hardly believe that after today there will be only one week left in this year’s Lenten journey together.

If you are just finding us, don’t be discouraged or feel as though you missed out. There is still time to jump in and benefit from this devotion with your family. Start today by listening to the two movements of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater selected for this week’s listening and participate in the music appreciation lesson below. Each lesson is independent from the last, so there is no need to add undue stress by trying to catch up in a week. You are invited to return to previous weeks at your family’s convenience, should you choose. You can also find more ideas for employing this Lenten devotion at the Overview post.

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

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

The Story of Dvořák in Music and Words can be found in the following playlist. We use these tracks of his biography read over his works as part of our family’s free listening.

Week 6

8. “Fac, Ut Portem Christi Mortem” – Soprano and Tenor Duet

Latin Text:

Fac ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis eius sortem
Et plagas recolere

Fac me plagis vulnerati
Cruce hac inebriari
Ob amorem Filii

English Translation:

Thus Christ’s dying may I carry
With him in his Passion tarry
And His wounds in mem’ry keep

Wound me with thy Son’s affliction
Kindle through this crucifixion
Zealous love within my soul

9. “Inflammatus Et Accensus” – Alto Solo

Latin Text:

Inflammatus et accensus
Per te, Virgo, sum defensus
In die iudicii

Fac me cruce custodiri
Morte Christi præmuniri
Confoveri gratia

English Translation:

Thus aflame with fire of love
Shield me, virgin, from above
When I hear the Judgment call

Let the cross now guard and shield me
Death of Christ my ward and plea be
Let me die in your embrace

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 printing this week’s listening maps at the bottom of this post and 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, Ut Portem Christi Mortem”. Written as a duet for Soprano and Tenor, this 8th Movement of of Stabat Mater has no choral accompaniment. In it’s ABA form, the music from the first section returns after a short instrumental break, but with different words. The piece begins with a legato (flowing, smooth) introduction by the woodwind family, the bassoons and oboes then the flutes. Next the Soprano (higher female voice) enters with the string family (violin, cello, etc) and introduces the whole first half of the text’s stanza alone. The same melody is then given to the Tenor (higher male voice) while harmony is provided by the Soprano. Strings usher in the short B portion of the piece and the same part of the text is sung for the third time. The words are the same but the melody is different. Another short introduction by the woodwinds family signals the return of the A portion. Here the music is the same but the text is the second half of the stanza beginning with “Fac me plagis vulnerati”. The piece ends with one last appearance of the first half of the text.

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.  Following the listening map below, have your family listen to the piece for a second time. You may count each section aloud or just in your head as you guide your students through the map. It is quite alright to do it more than once to get more practice and understanding. Remember, the treasure at the end of a listening map is the time spent together on the musical journey. Younger students may also draw what they hear in the music. 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. Can anyone point out similarities or differences between the A and B portions of the music? Which Themes (musical sentences) did your family members like the best? Did anyone have a preference for one of the vocal parts over the other? Were any instrument families or individual instruments recognized in the piece from hearing or following the listening map? The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response.

(Just click on the picture to download)

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At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 4}


I’m so glad you have joined us on this Forth Friday in Lent. It’s hard to believe that we are now official half-way through the season! It is sailing by for out family and I need to stay on top of things. I hope this devotion and any other disciplines your family has taken on this year are proving to be fruitful for y’all.

If you are new to this devotion: Hello! Welcome! Please don’t hesitate to jump right in with today’s two listenings and music appreciation lesson. All the weeks are independent of each other 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

 

Should you chose to add more free listening to your week, The Story of Dvořák, including his narrated biography over specific works, can be found in the playlist below:

Week 4

4. “Fac, Ut Ardeat Cor Meum” – Bass Solo and Chorus

Latin Text:

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

English Translation:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

 

5. “Tui Nati Vulnerati” – Chorus

Latin Text:

Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.

English Translation:

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

 

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 second of our two pieces for this week, “Tui Nati Vulnerati”. This 5th Movement of Stabat Mater is a chorus like last week, with no solo voices. Its ABA form contrasts an upbeat, joyful first section and a more penitential second section. With its 6/8 time signature, the first section of the piece is similar to the water music sung by gondoliers of Venice, Italy called Barcaroles. The 6 beats per measure gently rock you back and forth while still continuing the forward motion of the piece. The changing dynamics (how the notes are sung, volume and articulation) of the vocal lines are also reminiscent of the sweeping, gentle pull of waves. In spite of the text it is a nice splash of cheerfulness as we approach Laetare Sunday.

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 gracefully rocking side to side during the A sections of the piece. You may incorporate counting the 6 beats in each measure as everyone sways if both activities fit the ability of your children. Students may also draw what they hear in the music. 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. Can anyone share differences between the A and B portions of the music? The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response. For comparison, you can also share the video below of a famous barcarole, “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour”, from Offenbach’s opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann).

At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 3}


The third Friday of Lent is upon us! Hopefully your family has found its rhythm and is now in the full swing of the season. It always takes our family a little bit to reacquaint ourselves with the discipline of Lent. To those who may be just now starting this musical journey with us, feel free to take the plunge and join us with today’s listening selection and music appreciation lesson at the bottom of the post. Don’t worry, each lesson is independent of the previous week. 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

If you chose to include The Story of Dvořák listenings, where his biography is narrated over specific works, that playlist is below as well:

Week 3

Movement 3: “Eia, Mater” – Chorus

Latin Text:

Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

English Translation:

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

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 listening for today is the third movement of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, “Eia, Mater”. In the English translation of the half a stanza we read earlier, we see that this piece is a prayer pleading for our Lady to help unite us to her suffering, that our hearts would be pieced as hers was during Christ’s passion. This piece as a chorus features no solo voices since it is to be the cry of not one soul, but of all the Mother’s children. Dvořák depicts this further by offsetting the final, petition line, “fac ut tecum lugeam,” with its own separated sections in addition to its place in the other full text portions. This work is in 4/4 time, where each measure of music has four beats. In the first sung motive (musical idea) of the piece the lower voices introduce each line of text and are then mirrored by the higher voices. The melody (tune) and rhythm (length of notes) are the same until the end of the last line of text. The voices switch their order in the second motive (musical idea) and the higher voices take the lead and continue to alternate. The form of this movement is AA’, as the first section repeats but is changed in a small way.

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 tapping the 4/4 beat with on their lap. You may choose to have your family count the 1,2,3,4 of the music as well, either all together or silently. The beat is slower than the rhythm of the string instruments that begin the piece and the voices come in on a 4 beat.

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. Can anyone share differences between the two A parts of the music? What instruments were heard – the strings at the beginning or the Tympani playing during one of the “fac ut tecum lugeam” portions? 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. Here you can also remind your family of the prayerful intent of the text. Does you family think that the music successfully showed that intention? Can they give examples from parts of the piece? In the language of music this is called “text painting.”

At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 2}

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.

Week 2

Movement 2: “Quis Est Homo, Qui Non Fleret” – Quartet

Latin Text:

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
morientem, desolatum
dum emissit spiritum.

English Translation:

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)

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At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 1}

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Welcome to Week 1 of our musical journey through Lent,  At The Foot Of The Cross! I’m so thankful your family will be joining us!

Each week we will visit a movement or two of Dvořák’s cantata Stabat Mater. YouTube videos of each week’s selection(s) will be provided, along with the sung Latin text from the Medieval hymn its based on and an English translation that may be used as a devotional or for family meditation. Finally at the end of each post. I’ll share a free music appreciation lesson, fit for the whole family, based on one of Dvořák’s ten Stabat Mater movements. This devotion is meant to be very flexible for families of all ages and sizes. Some may only want to read the English translations and listen to the pieces. Others may want to try all the activities below. Do what will work for and help your family grow closer to the Christ is His suffering this season – everything else is straw. If you just found us and would like more background on this Lenten devotion, please visit the Overview post from earlier in the week.

Here are some ways to participate:

  • Simply read the Latin text and English translation then listen to the week’s movement(s)
  • Have older child(ren) read along with the sung text while listening to the pieces
  • Have older child(ren) compare the Latin and English texts
  • For older child(ren), use the texts for handwriting or dictation
  • Pick one movement’s text tomemorize as a family
  • Listen to the full master work during the day as free listening
  • Enjoy the weekly music appreciation lesson (at end of this post) as part of your homeschool, morning time, before Lenten devotions, or whenever best suits your family’s schedule

Please let me know in the comments how you plan to participate with your family!

Whole Work Free Listening Playlist

You can find a few ideas for how to incorporate free listening into your day here.

Week 1

Movement 1: “Stabat Mater Dolorosa” – Quartet and Chorus

Latin Text:

Stabat Mater dolorosa
iuxta crucem lacrimosa
dum pendebat Filius.

Cuius animam gementem
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti.

Quae moerebat et dolebat
pia Mater, cum videbat
Nati poenas inclyti.

English Translation:

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

 

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. Usually your family will be listening to the piece three times with a different purpose and activity each time, but this first movement is on the longer side so just listen to as much as possible. 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).

Our Easy ABCs for Music Appreciation

Begin by gathering everyone together for your listening time and explain how your family will be using this devotion as well as the name of this first movement. Also, at the bottom of this post is a worksheet you may print for each child to participate. (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:

Antonin Dvořák’s Stabat Mater is a cantata, a musical work composed for voice and instruments, usually with a choir. The Stabat Mater, “Standing Mother”, Latin text is taken from a 20 stanza Medieval hymn often said to be written by Pope St. Innocent III. The death of his three young children was Dvořák’s inspiration for this composition. As we are all called to do, he turned to the example and comfort of Our Blessed Mother in his time of profound grief. The first movement that we will be listening to is Andante con moto, meaning “moderately slow with movement.” This piece is a quartet of four solo voices in addition to a choir. Written in 1875, it is from the Romantic era of music. The movement begins with a lengthy instrumental introduction similar to those found in the operas of Richard Wagner. It takes the form of AABA, where the title text, “Stabat Mater Dolorosa” returns. It has portions in the expected sad sounding minor keys, but also parts in the happier major keys as well.

A brief biography can be found from Classics for Kids here. I usually include this type of information in the C – Conversation portion of our lesson, but feel free to insert it where you think would work best for your family.

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. For older children, this may be two different answers given the two contrasting segments of major and minor keys. 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. Here a child can use the printed worksheet to write and or draw what they saw while listening the first time through. It may be more than one thing to make a music collage. If a child recognized specific instruments or elements in the music, they can be included here as well.

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. Some may hear and mention a specific instrument like the violin, oboe, or bassoon. While others might hear how the instrumental motive (musical idea) in the introduction goes down in pitch. Did anyone notice the key changes? They may say something like, “it sounded happier at one part.” etc…” The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response. Again there is no wrong answer to this question.

If not already included previously, you may share the Classics for Kids biography here.

(Just click on the picture to download)

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

For years music had been one of the simple ways our family reflects and prepares our souls for the greatest feast of the Christian year. With so many littles, employing music in our Lenten devotions it is an easy, no-cost way to help tune their hearts to the sacrifice of our Lord and prayerfully await the “Easter-Feaster,” as they are fond of saying. The calmer Lenten musical works that we use as our soundtrack for the season are a gentle reminder of the penitential tone we are called to embrace.

Our practice has been to listen to a different musical setting of the “Stabat Mater Dolorosa” each Friday of Lent. This Latin hymn from the 1200’s consists of 20 stanzas depicting the experience of Our Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross and is often sung as part of the Stations of the Cross. Although the debated authorship of the hymn is attributed to a few like St. Bonaventure, or Jacopone da Todi, a Franciscan friar, Pope St. Innocent III is the one that always comes to my mind first.

This Lent, I want to invite your family to join us as we delve a little deeper into a Romantic era setting of this medieval hymn, Antonin Dvořák’s Stabat Mater. Similar to our Advent Calendar with Handel’s Messiah, every Friday I’ll offer a selected listening from the featured masterwork and a related music appreciation lesson, based on our Easy as ABC method, for your whole family to enjoy.

As free listening, the whole work is in the playlist below:

 

At The Foot Of The Cross

Week 1

 1. “Stabat Mater Dolorosa” – Quartet and Chorus

Week 2

2. “Quis Est Homo, Qui Non Fleret” – Quartet

Week 3

3. “Eja, Mater, Fons Amoris” – Chorus

Week 4

4. “Fac, Ut Ardeat Cor Meum” – Bass Solo and Chorus

5. “Tui Nati Vulnerati” – Chorus

Week 5

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

7. “Virgo Virginum Praeclara” – Chorus

Week 6

8. “Fac, Ut Portem Christi Mortem” – Soprano and Tenor Duet

9. “Inflammatus Et Accensus” – Alto Solo

Week 7

10. “Quando Corpus Morietur” – Quartet and Chorus

Music to Commemorate the Martyrs of Compiegne

Tomorrow’s Feast is the memorial of the Martyrs of Compiegne. On that day in Paris, 1794, 14 carmelite nuns and 2 servants were guillotined by the french government during the Reign of Terror. After refusing to fully disassemble their community, the sisters were imprisoned and run through a mock trial where in they were found guilty of crimes against the state and condemned to death. Previously having made an act of consecration offering up their lives for martyrdom, the sisters courageously faced their deaths singing throughout the executions, shocking the surrounding crown into silence. The Reign of Terror ended soon thereafter. Given their example to the end, what better way to commemorate these saints than with music.

In January of 1957, Francois Poulenc premiered his opera, Dialogues des Carmélites, inspired by these unflinching sisters. He composed both the music and libretto (text). Although the majority of the opera is in french, the prayer movements are in Latin. The stirring finale, “Salve Regina,” features the nuns last offering of prayer as one by one they are led to  climb the steps of the guillotine by the march of the string ostinato (repeatedly played musical phrase). Following the sisters both in ascending to the platform and then to heaven, the prayer gradually rises in pitch phrase by phrase while the number of voices dwindles. In the end, a lone soprano is left to sing the concluding line of the Veni Creator Spiritus added on by Poulenc, “Now to the Father and the Son, Who rose from death, be glory given, with Thou, O Holy Comforter, henceforth by all in earth and heaven.” Like those sisters before her, she is cut off unable to sing, “Amen.” (The Metropolitan Opera’s full synopsis can be found here.)

As part of our daughter’s Nameday festivities we will be listening to this Dialogues and using the chorus, “Ave Maria” below for our Morning Liturgy (Morning Time) weekly music study on Monday. Please join us by using our easy ABC method of music study here.

 

 

The finale: