Musical Notes ♫♬ (Archive)

Taizé is a tiny village hidden away in the hills of Burgundy, France.  Since 1940 it has been the home of an ecumenical community of brothers whose prayer, three times a day, is at the center of their life.  Brother Roger first came to the village of Taizé in 1940, at the age of 5.  He dreamed of starting a community "on account of Christ and the Gospel", and he chose to do so in an area, in those years, strongly marked by human distress.  It was wartime and his house became a place of welcome for refugees, especially Jews, fleeing from the Nazi occupation.  After living alone for two years he was joined by his first brothers, and in 1949, when there were seven of them, they committed themselves, for life, to celibacy and to life together.

At first the community was made up of brothers from different Protestant denomination.  Today it includes many Catholics as well.  By its very nature Taizé is an ecumenical community as well as international.  It has over eighty brothers from some twenty different countries.  Taize's vocation is to strive for communion among all.  From its beginnings, the community has worked for reconciliation among Christians split apart into different denominations.  But the brothers do not view reconciliation among Christians as the end in itself:  it concerns all of humanity, since it makes the Church a place of communion for all.

The music of Taizé evolved into a specific repertoire to answer the liturgical needs of the Community and the guests that it received.  In the beginning there was a sizable contribution of Chorales and Psalms from the 16th century.  However, with the growing number of visitors it became apparent that these complicated forms presented a problem.  The goal was for everyone to actively participate in prayer of the Community and rehearsal time is very limited.  Simple elements provided the solution because it enabled a crowd of people to quickly learn them.  (Much like how the tradition of Southern Harmony was started).  With the help of musician Jacques Berthier, friend of Taizé, different methods were tried out and the solution was found in the use of repetitive structure, or short musical phrases with singable melodic units that could easily be memorized.  In addition, other parts (cantors, instruments, choirs) could be added but were not necessary.  Some of the them use very simple, basic words in Latin, because Latin is a dead language for everyone and and hence neutral.

Our ELW is full of Taizé pieces, some in English and some in Latin.

Even if you are unable to pick out the tune, this week I would encourage you to sit in silence and mediate on these beautiful pieces during the Holiest week of the Christian year.

Sunday, April 1st:  Ubi caritas et amor #642

Monday, April 2nd:  Eat This Bread #472

Tuesday, April 3rd:  Jesus, Remember Me #616

Wednesday, April 4th:  Veni Sancte Spiritus #406

Thursday, April 5th:  Stay with Me #348

Friday, April 6th:  O Lord, Hear My Prayer #751 (first set of text)

Saturday, April 7th:  (Easter Vigil) Come and Fill Our Hearts #528 & Be Not Afraid #388

 

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Daily Bible Verse

  • Malachi 4:1-6

    5Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 6He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.

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