Thursday, 5 April 2012
Tenebrae is the service of Matins and Lauds of the Triduum, and a candle is extinguished after each of the psalms, until finally all are out and the lights are turned out. The banging of books represents the earthquake (I think!) But the very last candle is only hidden from view, and it gets shown again at the end.
One year I went to Tenebrae and the last candle had actually been extinguished, which caused a bit of consternation for the MC when the time came for its reinstatement...
The liturgy at St. Mary Moorfields had been organised by the Latin Mass Society who had arranged for Cantus Magnus to sing the polyphony.
Although the phone camera was out of action, I had my "proper" camera with me as well, and so I recorded a couple of the polyphonic responses sung by the choir. This one is from the third Nocturn of Matins: Gesualdo's Una Hora.
I didn't take many photos, as there isn't much going on around the sanctuary during Tenebrae. This meant I was free to record "Eram quasi agnus innocens" from the second Nocturn, and you can listen to that over on YouTube.
I also recorded the Benedictus - the canticle of Zachariah - at the end of Lauds where the final candle is "extinguished"... and here polyphony alternates with plainsong. I particularly like the contrast - remember that everyone, including members of the congregation, joins in with the plainsong parts, so it's not perfect, but that is its charm.
It was definitely the best way to start the Triduum... Perhaps one year we can celebrate it at Blackfen!