Monday, December 7, 2009
Holiday Songs #1: Dona Nobis Pacem
The holiday season is a particularly musical time, isn’t it? Of course, when we venture out for holiday shopping—or even for any errands—we’re usually bombarded with an endless soundtrack of Christmas music, much of which has—to say the least—lost some freshness over the years.
So you may ask with some justification why I’ve decided to add to this soundtrack! Truth is, I like Christmas music, & I’m hoping to offer some tracks that are a bit unusual for your holiday listening pleasure. Of course, with Eberle & I being involved in a rather large production Christmas show over the next week (rehearsals & performances), I’ve questioned the prudence of adding a recording project, but I’ve decided to forge ahead.
Today’s song is usually performed as a round with a capella voices. The melody has been ascribed to Palestrina, a 16th century Italian composer, but it’s not certain that he wrote it. The words “Dona nobis pacem” (“grant us peace”) come from the “Agnus Dei” (“Lamb of God”) section of the Latin mass. “Pacem” is pronounced “pachem.”
The images I’ve chosen for the slideshow illustrate, I believe, the link between justice & peace. I do want to mention that the famous folk shown in the film (Dorothy Day, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. & Harvey Milk) have all passed into history now. However, the fact that they are now historical doesn’t mean that we no longer need to strive for justice & peace—just because these men & women, & countless others who are unknown strove for justice & peace in the past, we aren’t excused from continuing to seek these ideals, & we shouldn’t be lulled into a sense that such struggles are only a part of history. They are the struggles of today, & they will be the struggles of tomorrow as well.
Hope you enjoy the music & the slideshow.