“Alleluia” – a word difficult to define precisely – but generally understood to mean “Praise God” or “Exult in God” or simply “Praise.” “Alleluia,” can be experienced as a spontaneous, personal response to some stunning awareness of truth or beauty or goodness or belief. Countless artists, composers, poets, philosophers and scientists from many cultures have experienced “Allelulia” and used their skills to acknowledge with joy the sacredness they have discovered. Perhaps this week while the Church is still in the Easter season -- the season of resurrection/redemption/new life -- you might want to give some time to the power and presence of “Alleluia” in your own life. Where do you find the sacred? What gives you a profound sense of God’s loving presence? Have you ever experienced it while listening to music?
A few musical examples of a classical nature that have brought me to prayer are offered as suggestions. You probably have favorites of your own that could be added to the list of samples. What matters is not the performer or the composer or the style. What matters is the power of music to reach down into your depths to find the birthplace of an “Alleluia” that you can call your own.
Choral and serene
Giulio Caccini. Alleluia arr. by Mack Wilberg (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)
Randall Thompson. Alleluia
The following link is just one of many performances from which to choose.
Choral and exultant
George Frideric Handel. Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah
Performance by choir of King’s College (men and boys)
Ludwig van Beethoven. Ode to Joy, from 9thSymphony, excerpt from 4thmovement
Orchestral with chorus in an unfolding story that builds from near silence to a stirring climax
Gustav Mahler. Symphony No. 2 , (Resurrection Symphony) finale of 5thmovement