Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Immaculate Conception

The Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instance of her conception was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the Human Race. Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854. Pope Pius IX.

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; at one time, a Holy Day of Obligation in Canada. There are only two now, Christmas Day and Mary, Mother of God (January 1) according to the revised calendar, the Circumcision of Our LORD in the calendar for the Traditional liturgy.

Turn the player on the left off for a moment and take some time to listen below to the five-voice Ave Maria by Robert Parsons, a sixteenth century English composer. It has been a long-time since I've been able to sing this in choir but the Bass line is one of my favourites, in fact, I am hard-pressed to think of a more sublime Ave Maria. Listen to the soaring notes of the soprano and the other parts rolling over and over again to these glorious words. The Amen is simply glorious, starting off plaintively by one voice and then everyone joining in as it builds and to a crescendo before falling back to one final and peaceful phrase resolving perfectly and leaving one satisfied; but wanting to play it over and over again. This is a rich composition that one never tires of.


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