This year, as on every Good Friday in the last decades, Hyosang Park, Princeton UMC’s music director, planned to observe the day by presenting a requiem, a musical composition in honor of the agony and death of Jesus Christ. Choir members enthusiastically responded to a question about what this concert means to them. Just to participate in the celebration of Holy Week was important for Edwin Francisco. “It is always moving and exciting,” according to Bill Suits.
“It’s meaningful that some of our concerts were dedicated to members who had passed on,” said Karen Hoagland.
The lyrics of a requiem, said Christine Wong, “encompass major themes of the Bible: the covenant of salvation from Abraham to his descendants; God’s wrath and judgment; and man’s fear and suffocation for deliverance from sins and death. It abundantly praises God’s holiness and highness.”
Plans for the Good Friday have changed (Princeton UMC will have a virtual service at 6 p.m.) and choir rehearsals are now virtual, but – singers — here’s an innovative way to get the Holy Week music experience.’ Choose your favorite score, find the youtube video, and – sing along!
Joan Nuse would likely pick the requiem by living British composer Bob Chilcott. “It was an amazing experience. The songs were uplifting!”
Lori Pantaleo’s favorites include the one requiem by John Rutter. The most difficult, she said, came from France, by Maurice Durufle (1947) and Luigi Cherubini, who wrote his Requiem in c minor in 1816 to honor Louis XVI. Other works in the Good Friday series were the “Seven Last Words” by Theodore Dubois in 1867, Faure’s Requiem (1890), Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 21, Anton Bruckner’s Requiem in d minor, Handel’s Messiah, and the 1837 Requiem in C minor by Michael Haydn.
Here is one video of the Seven Last Words, by Dubois and here is a version that is part of a Good Friday service from Katy, Texas.
The Faure Requiem
This video of Bach’s Cantata 21 and this one of the Cherubini even come with sheet music!
This beautiful version of the John Rutter Requiem was dedicated to the tragedy at Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.
No matter what is on the program, or whether worshippers are present or online, Jenni Collins says she will look forward to “the intimate nature and the powerful emotion of a Good Friday service.”