Thursday, 14 June 2018

Re-requiem

The other day  an edition of Notes from the Stave reminded of a piece I'd written in the early days of this blog on Gabriel Fauré's Requiem. One of the people commentating on the manuscript also featured as a boy soprano in the King's College Choir recording – Bob (credited at the time as "Robert") Chilcott. (In particular it alerted me to a mistranslation of mine, now fixed. To make matters worse, it was in a section that corrected a common mistranslation [of In Paradisum as *in paradise – which it doesn't mean]).
...In can mean many things  in Latin, but when followed by a noun in the accusative it doesn't mean 'in'. If the words were In Paradiso they would mean 'In Paradise'; but they are In Paradisum ... going on ...deducant Angeli : 'May angels will lead you into Paradise...' One of many other meanings of in, this time followed by the dative, is exemplified in the next phrase: in tuo adventu: that's closer to 'in' in meaning, with a sense something like 'on the occasion of', though I'd favour a simpler translation: 'When you arrive...'.

More here
My mistake (future simple rather than subjunctive) was perhaps explained (though not of course justified – mea maxima culpa) by Fauré's own attitude to the Requiem as a lullaby of death. I let his view of death as a peaceful return to a state of eternal rest influence me. As Michael Lewanski‘s blog says
Unlike nearly all other works in the genre, it [HD: Fauré's Requiem ] contains none of the drama, anxiety, or fraught emotions one tends to associate with human thinking about death.  Nearly all references to the last judgement from the Catholic liturgy (and trust me, there are plenty) are excised. 
This nonchalance  in the sense of "not getting  hot under the collar" misled me into  assuming on the part of  Fauré a certain (not to say sanctimonious) belief that angels would lead the departed into paradise.

The manuscript, and thus the stuff of the discussion, was an unbound version without some movements added later (Offertorium, Libera me, etc.); it was, in the words of the Bibliothèque Nationale's Head of Music Manuscripts a manuscript de travail working copy rather than a draft of something to be  published.

Bob Chilcott makes frequent additions to the discussion based on his experience as a chorister;   from the sublime (David Willcocks‘s observation that the high strings after the triumphant Hosanna  represent  the angels flying off  into the distance) to the ridiculous (after the recording of  Pie Jesu, when the sound engineer asked if Chilcott wanted to listen back to his efforts, the response was "Sorry Sir, he's gone off with  Marriner [Neville‘s  son Andrew] to buy sweets" [not the exact words – check Bob Chilcott's memory in the 17th minute of the programme]).

At one point (maybe more than one) Bob Chilcott calls attention to Fauré's word painting, which put me in mind of my own favourite example, discussed in an old post of mine:
My choice of 'listen out' [HD: the post was discussing phrasal verbs in  a context that had nothing to do with music] as an example is not entirely accidental. I'm singing this season Fauré's Requiem, which includes the prayer Exaudi orationem meam. This phrase is preceded by a soprano tune marked both piano and dolce: a very gentle and not-very-down-to-earth (in fact angelic)  'It is fitting that a hymn should be offered to you in Sion, O God'. Here the human penitent breaks in,  fortissimo: Exaudi – as if they were saying 'Enough of this airy-fairy stuff  "it is fitting that..." my Aunt Fanny! This really matters to a human soul. Among all the millions of prayers addressed to you throughout Christendom not to mention that bl**dy  'hymnus' listen out for mine.' The rather limp translation 'Hear my prayer' doesn't do justice to the word.
And in the same post I returned to the theme of 'listen out':

<autobiographical_note>
At the funeral of a
grande dame yesterday... I witnessed an underlining of the importance of this Ex-  [HD: in exaudi]. We were in the middle of one of those interminable call-and-response prayers, with the congregation saying ‘Lord, hear our prayer‘ again and again. And The Angelus butted in. (For the uninitiated:  The Angelus is a very noisy Call-to-prayer – much noisier than the Islamic version: ding ding ding <pause> ding ding ding <pause> ding ding ding <pause...has it stopped?>  <oh dear me NO, suckers> DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING... [ad nauseam]).  And the congregation was bleating (that‘s one for the etymologists: grex = ‘flock‘) ‘Lord, hear our prayer‘. Here was the perfect opportunity for something more robust: ‘Listen out for my prayer‘.
Not all believers would recognize this as a call to prayer exactly, but the name 'Angelus' is the first word of the prescribed prayer.

<inline_pps>
So it's a call to – and an accompaniment to – a particular prayer, to be prayed wherever the hearer happens to be, rather than [as in the Islamic case] a call to the faithful to come and pray at the mosque.
<inline_pps>
<autobiographical_note>
But this isn't getting the lawn repaired (Don't ask; in short I'm doing a Rooney
[transplanting bits of "turf" from where it's spread over a path though it's not turf exactly; it's just a bit greener than the weeds that are in the "lawn"].)

b


PS And here are a couple of clues:
  • Hatter in cahoots with odd characters from Idaho returning to get rich. (11)
  • Neat ass at the Gare du Nord on track for underhand trickery (9) 

Update 2018.08.29.13:00 –The answers: MILLIONAIRE and CHICANERY. And, swatting away hornets ("...Because he knows it teases") I've added an inline PPS in red.

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