Dies irae Dies illa

Dies iræ! Dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!

Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending!
Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando iudex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!
Oh, what fear man's bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.
Memling Judgment Day - 1460

Now that a charmer of a warming-upper.  Growing up in performance, big deal churches often put on a requiem either today (Good Friday) or Easter Sunday.  After a year's diet of mediocre church music, this was a weekend when Brahms, Mozart, or Verdi showed up and the challenges of difficult and famous music came with them.

The Mass for the Dead draws from "ordinaries and propers". Ordinaries are the parts that "ordinarily" show up - Introit, Gloria, Credo etc.. Propers are specific to a day in the church year. The Dies Irae appears in Requiems because for the dead person, it is judgment time - up or down so to speak.

Contemplation of the Dead 1895

This "proper" was originally meant for "All Souls" Day...you know, the trumpet, judgment day, etc., but when you think about it some, as we should as our own personal judgment days loom ahead and we are at Good Friday in the church year (talk about someone who had the Pearly Gates wide open!) we consider this a bit more.

Anyway, the "dies irae" was meant, on a certain level, to scare the flock into considering heaven and hell and where one would spend eternity. The scary painting by Memling or the more peaceful gravesite contemplation by Bouguereau.

Part of all this is, of course, jumbled in the middle the conflict between predisposition and good works; you were born to get what's coming to you or you make your own way to judgment.  Sitting in a trumpet section in some big church with the choir, the setting, the orchestra - Easter after Easter performing Requiems led me to believe that you take things one day at a time.

It is Good Friday - the big deal Christian day. Requiems will be after the Rising. So we will hold off a day or two on the scary stuff. Today is today. 

I pick contemplation.