Saturday, July 08, 2006


Over one hundred people jostled into their places, music in hand, while emitting shouts of greeting and welcome. All ages, from the most recent graduates to those who bore the 50th reunion badges, exchanged banter and made the air quiver with excited chatter, booming laughter, and fond memories. The insistant rap of the conductor's baton rose over the din, the pages of Mozart's score shuffled to the first movement, and an obedient silence filled the atmosphere. An intake of quavering breath, and beauty begins to emerge:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine!

On and on the measures lead, the beat drawing our hearts together relentlessly. The rise and fall of tenor, soprano, alto and bass weave the loose strands of simple line into brilliant form, and Wolfgang's masterwork comes together one more time. Thousands -perhaps tens of thousands- of rehearsals, read-throughs, community sings and concert performances, and all is as it was over 200 years ago. Scenes from the historically overblown but classic flick Amadeus flash through my imagination as the women sing, voca, voca me cum benedictis! I see Mozart on his deathbed, his nightshirt damp with feverish sweat and his wide eyes gleaming with electric inspiration. I almost wish it did happen like this; Salieri frantically scribbling his rival's divine dictation while hissing, go on, go on! Truly a scene made for the stage!

Surely the drama of death, supplication for mercy, and the final judgement is the ultimate plot of humanity. We all have our part in this amazing story. The Bard wasn't exaggerating when he wrote: All the world's a stage, and the people merely players.

About the real Final Day: the privilege of being one of the beloved redeemed is mine. I won't have to memorize any eloquent lines. The staging, blocking, and timing will be set for me. All will fall into place, having been exquisitely planned from the beginning of time. Our season on earth behind us, the edge of eternity before us! A thousand --even ten thousand--days will barely hint at what is in store.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us rest.

This afternoon was just a lovely taste of forever.


Blogger eyestotheeast said...

sounds so wonderful =)

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... to pop Mozart into the CD player!

p.s. I just read that back, sounds funny, doesn't it?

9:59 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Ah, for a the days of music making on a grand scale. I would have loved to add my bass voice to the section that God loves most. :-)

3:19 PM  

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