Music and the Presence of Jesus
I would be very interested to know of particular pieces of music that members of the Fellowship associate with the Presence of Jesus in the Divine Liturgy.
I do not wish to shock or offend anyone, or to be disrespectful to Our Lord in any way, but having thought about this carefully, I can honestly say that the music which evokes the Presence of Jesus for me (as an English person) is the following:
Over 50 years ago, the great English Contralto Kathleen Ferrier died. She left a large, wonderful legacy of recordings, but the way she sings traditional British folk music and traditional songs to piano accompaniment really is quite extraordinary. The music that evokes the presence of Jesus for me is Kathleen Ferrier singing the following songs, with simple piano arrangements, and the third one unaccompanied:
Ye banks and braes (trad., arr. Quilter; Burns)
I know where I'm going (Hughes: adapt. Gray)
Blow the wind southerly (Trad., arr. Whittaker) 1949.
I'm not sure I can quite "put my finger on" the reason for this. There is a beauty, purity, simplicity and love evoked when I hear these songs. There is a deep sense of kindness and intimate joy given and shared. There is a friendliness, gentleness, optimism and warmth too.
I realise that others may wish to "shoot me down in flames" for this, but somehow sacred "churchy" music doesn't seem quite right in a funny kind of way. If you listen to the way she sings these songs, you may agree (or disagree). It's the love behind the voice and the gentleness that does it for me somehow. Overblown, fancy music doesn't seem quite right somehow. These songs are very 'homely', and my image or impression of Jesus is a homely one. The British Orthodox Church seems warm and homely in the same sort of way.