From Franz Josef Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (The “Lord Nelson” Mass): “Et incarnates est” (He became incarnate) Please listen.
God made flesh. Descending to earth, joining us here. The Unreachable, reaching out to us. This is hope and mercy and grace, this is light in the dark.
I am thankful for this, and for the earthly things that, in their own ways, speak of it.
Last week was especially busy, leading up to two performances over the weekend, both out of town. Youngest and Middle were sick, Oldest was preparing for a competition that was also out of town. I’ve been fighting illness, myself—again or still or whatever it is at this point. Our schedule seems on the brink of un-doable. And in general I feel like I am in a semi-constant state of failure, which means I’ve also been sort of a bear to be around.
In the midst of all this, music. Beautiful stuff that meets me wherever I am, stays with me, infuses everything.
The organ music that soaks into my bones, healing something deep within.
The pieces I am teaching my students, that—in the midst of antsy-ness and distraction and crumbs and glitter and runny noses—shift sometimes into glimmering moments of pure, focused music.
My own children’s singing—odd tunes at odd moments, an old song with new words: small windows, bits of levity.
And then the music I got to take part in, this whole last week, myself: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”, Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass, Finzi’s “In Terra Pax.”
Could I do all the day-to-day stuff without this music that descends, reaches-in, transcends? My lungs have not felt right since April. The degree of not-right has varied greatly and I am actually quite good at ignoring it, but it wears, just the same. The busyness, the ever-present not-measuring-up—they wear, as well. When I am wrapped up in the music, and the music is wrapped around me, I do not even have to ignore—I can be beyond it completely.
I do not believe this is escape. I believe these are whispers of Et incarnates est, of Immanuel, God with us. The words have been mingling with the music all week.