Today I found John Bunyan’s hymn, “He Who Would Valient Be,” accompanied by an unfamiliar tune, St. Dunstan’s. I much prefer the one written by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
On this day in 1809 Franz Josef Haydn died, at the age of 77. In The Imaginative Conservative Robert Reilly writes why he enjoys Haydn’s music:
While listening to Haydn, I feel gratitude, which is hardly strange, as it is gratitude that his work expresses. In the April 2009 Gramophone, Geraint Lewis wrote, “When he was berated late in life for the cheerful tone of his religious music, Haydn simply said that every time he thought of God his heart leapt for joy.” My heart leaps for joy when I hear him. Joy begets joy. As a result, I never tire of his music. I am always refreshed by it.
Often, when struggling against obstacles of every sort which oppose my labors: often, when the powers of mind and body weakened, and it was difficult to continue the course I had entered on; — a secret voice whispered to me: “there are so few happy and contented peoples here below; grief and sorrow are always their lot; perhaps your labors will once be a source from which the care-worn, or the man burdened with affairs, can derive a few moments rest and refreshment.” This was indeed a powerful motive to press onwards, and this is why I now look back with cheerful satisfaction on the labors expended on this art, to which I have devoted so many long years of uninterrupted effort and exertion.
And here is a pleasant interlude for today from Haydn. The art is pleasing as well.
It has only been a couple of years since I first heard Haydn’s Creation. Like so many things, experiencing it for the first time can’t be repeated, but the joy can. Here it is in English.
Yesterday the Christian Church celebrated Ascension Day, forty days after Easter, the day our Lord ascended to Heaven.
Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose true tears, or tribulation
Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay.
Behold, the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon;
Nor doth he by ascending show alone,
But first He, and He first enters the way.
O strong Ram, which hast batter’d heaven for me!
Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path!
Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see!
O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath;
And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.
| Latin text
Coelos ascendit hodie
| English translation
Today into the heavens has ascended
I’ve been reading Early Days on the Western Slope of Colorado and came across this reference to the Mississippi River, which reminded me of a new Alison Krauss recording, River in the Rain, also about the Mississippi.
From the book:
…[E]ventually, we reached that broad expanse at the outlet of the Ohio and were rocking on the broad bosom of the Father of Waters, the Mississippi. Melancholy has marked the Mississippi for her own. Visit its shores anywhere and a weird mournful atmosphere mellows the scene. One thinks of the myriads of mound builders and Indians who are dead, and of the many white people who ought to be. For scores and scores of miles the unending low shores, just mere nothing covered with willows. Soft maples so thick that none ever becomes a tree make monotonous mounds of foliage behind the willows.
I’ve seen the Mississippi and it is impressive, powerful, and almost epic in our American lore. At the very least, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn come to mind, as well as gay steamboats, and loggers. Although I wouldn’t have thought to portray the river that way, I agree, one does get a sense of melancholy when experiencing it, or at least I have.
Early Days On The Western Slope of Colorado (1913), is a first person account of the experiences of Sidney Jocknick between 1870 and 1883 when he migrated from Washington D.C. to Colorado. It is the kind of history I like to read.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
He has brought me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.
Song of Solomon 2:4 (ISV)