Song of the Day: Gabriel Faure, “Agnus Dei”

Wayne Davis, the choir director of my grad school days, passed away last week. Today was his memorial and celebration, which fittingly involved two choirs.   Wayne was heavily involved in the Turtle Creek Chorale, and they and the First Presbyterian Chancel choir sang. (Wayne made sure that there was a choir at my dad’s funeral and that they sang Rutter’s Psalm 23.)

Under his direction I learned to “sin boldly” or make sure to own my mistakes so they could be corrected. I also learned and got to sing some of the best chorale music: Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, a lot of John Rutter, Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. We were a small chancel choir at Trinity Presbyterian with grand ambitions, some classically trained voices, and of course my dad’s glorious tenor filled out our sound. We even recorded a modest CD of traditional hymns. But singing Faure’s Requiem is what I treasure the most and the “Agnus Dei” is perhaps the most beautiful movement in the piece. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest Wayne. 

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Commonplace: Brian Friel, Translations

“But remember that words are signals, counters. They are not immortal. And it can happen–to use an image you’ll understand–it can happen that a civilization can be imprisoned in a linguistic contour which no longer matches the landscape of …fact.”

~ Brian Friel, Translations — side note: the provost when I first came to UAFS, who has from Ireland, told me at my interview after I had discussed teaching this play that his aunt had dated Friel back in the day.

Commonplace: Winifred Holtby on feminism

“I am a feminist because I dislike everything that feminism implies. I desire an end to the whole business, the demands for equality, the suggestion of sex warfare, the very name feminist. I want to be about the work in which my real interests like, the writing of novels and so forth. But while inequality exists, while injustice is done and opportunity denied to the great majority of women, I shall have to be a feminist. And I shan’t be happy till I get . . . a society in which there is no distinction of persons either male or female, but a supreme regard for the importance of the human being. And when that dream is a reality, I will say farewell to feminism, as to any disbanded but victorious army, with honour for its heroes, gratitude for its sacrifice, and profound relief that the hour for its necessity has passed.”

~ Winifred Holtby