Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lift High the Cross--The Triumph of the Cross

For this Feast of the Triumph of Exaltation of the Cross, I refer you to my article published in the September/October 2013 issue of OSV's The Catholic Answer Magazine, available on-line without subscription:

Each September the Church celebrates the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14, and the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows follows on Sept. 15.

The pairing of these celebrations, even in their different levels on the liturgical and sanctoral calendars, properly guides us in our levels of devotion and love of our Savior and Our Lady. He is our Divine Redeemer, to be worshiped and adored; she is His first disciple and our example. Both of these celebrations have a long history and are worthy of meditation.

We have been listening to a recording of Spanish Choral religious music, O Crux, by Coro Cervantes, which features the great Velasquez Crucifixion on its cover:

19th century Spanish music? Thorough research of Spanish Romantic music has unearthed some of Spain's most beautiful and sumptuous sacred choral music, with styles ranging from the unapologetic taste for Italian opera to the strictest counterpoint which can be found since the sixteenth century Spanish Golden Age.  This multiplicity of styles is reflected in works by Arriaga, Sor, Ledesma, Monasterio, Barbieri, Eslava, Bretón, Vives, Albéniz, etc. 

The liner notes explain how the Napoleonic invasion of Spain led to the destruction of the religious choral music tradition and how that destruction continued the 1851 concordat which "reduced the size of music chapels, abolished schools for child choristers and banned anyone who was not a clergyman from performing music in chapels"!

One of the tracks is Fernando Sors' O Crux:

O Crux ave, spes unica,
hoc Passionis tempore!
piis adauge gratiam,
reisque dele criminal.

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