Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Monteverdi: "Laetatus Sum", Copenhagen Soloists

     Another delightful piece from Monteverdi’s Vespro Della Beata Vergine, “Laetatus Sum”.  It is a musical setting for Psalm 122 (English translation below from the RSV).  The Psalm itself celebrates the joy and peace to be found in “The House of the Lord”.       
     The ancient psalmist was no doubt referring principally to the actual Jerusalem of his day, and the Temple of stone and wood built upon its heights. We, looking back through the lens of God’s Revelation in Jesus Christ, can see a deeper meaning: “the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God”, our Heavenly Destination (God willing) that is spoken of in the Book of Revelation (Rev 21:2).  The New Testament, as St. Augustine pointed out, is concealed in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. And, here, beautifully put to music.

Psalm 122

I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD!"
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
Jerusalem, built as a city
which is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
"May they prosper who love you!
Peace be within your walls, 
security within your towers!"
For my brethren and companions' sake
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.