The “Resurrection” on Resurrection Sunday

by Glenn on April 7, 2015

I dream of the day that the worship at church is more inspiring and less painful. It seems to me that more worship is ruined by a sound person who is hearing impaired and/or wants other people to be hearing impaired. It’s hard to know of intentions but the effects are certain. And it’s hard to know to what degree the leaders upfront are complicit in an experience where I am forced to plug my ears to protect myself. I feel old and cranky.

My accountability: Normally I carry a pair of ear plugs to church for protection. But we were visiting a church where I didn’t think I would need them and so I left them at home. (Most of the time I use Earasers, which can be seen here. These are great for plane travel, too. Everything from the TSA agent shouting at you to remove your belt and take your laptop out of your bag to the beeping of the video game played by the child across the row is toned down to a manageable and tolerable level.)

It was Easter Sunday and I think I was missing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” accompanied by pipe organ and orchestra with soprano descant for the final verse:

There is a kind of loud that is acoustic which envelops, exhilarates, and encourages you in worship. I’ve experienced this a handful of times in my life. It is glorious. But there is another kind of loud that is artificial and pierces. I got plenty of that on Easter Sunday. The amplification makes it sound like the worship team is screaming in your ear.

As for the acoustical kind, I was happy for some time on Easter afternoon to redeem the day and enjoy a treasure from my video shelf:

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”
Sylvica McNair (soprano) | Jard van Nes (contralto)
Ernst-Senff-Chor | Berliner Philharmoniker | Bernard Haitink

It can be purchased from Amazon here.

This is phenomenal, even if the visuals appear dated with 4:3 aspect and non-HD resolution.

The text includes words by Friedrich Klopstock (in translation):

Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you My dust,
After a brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will He who called you, give you.
To bloom again were you sown!
The Lord of the harvest goes
And gathers in, like sheaves,
Us together, who died.

You can’t turn Mahler into some kind of evangelical. He is not preaching the sermon you heard Easter Sunday morning. But you can rejoice that there is a serious piece of classical music that stands against the nihilism of the age and points to life beyond this life. And ten french horns. You can’t go wrong there.

Here’s the finale by another great Mahlerian, the late Claudio Abbado, with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.