I’m having a break from creating something new today, but thought this was appropriate enough for the Easter season. I’ve posted it once before. This is the beginning of a longer commissioned work (43 minutes) based on the Gospel of Saint John, that I composed a little time back. It’s best listened to with the volume turned up on good speakers – neither of which I have – just broken headphones! It’s music that’s not to everyone’s taste but is the type of stuff I write when not blogging!
The photo my sister-in-law took out of her window!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Stella was in a foul mood. For several weeks she had planned her little Easter Sunday party for her daughter, son-in-law and their three young children.
They came to lunch quite often, but this Easter Sunday would be special because… because it was Easter Sunday. Stella prepared the menu meticulously. She spent hours painting and decorating eggs for the children. And now all was ready!
Early in the morning, Stella wandered her garden hiding chocolate eggs for the children to find. She had prepared the vegetables. The rack of lamb was on the bench ready for the oven. For dessert they were to have blackberry pie with her special homemade honey ice cream!
Late morning Stella’s daughter phoned. Arnie the son-in-law was feeling off-colour. Could Stella come and pick her and the kids up? But Stella’s car was broken down. I thought I told you. Not to worry, said the daughter, we weren’t that keen to come today anyway as they had been invited to a friend’s place and Arnie was keen to go there. Not to worry, said Stella.
Stella didn’t quite know what to do. She went over to the neighbours on the left hand side who had two young children. Would they like to come and hunt for Easter eggs in her garden? We’re not Christians and we don’t believe in all that stuff.
Stella went over to the middle-aged neighbours on the right hand side. Would they care for some chocolate eggs? Chocolate is chocolate, they said. They came. They hunted for the eggs. They stayed for a delightful rack of lamb and a blackberry pie. A convivial time was had by all. They had recently won millions in the lottery. Their win was a secret. They bought Stella a brand new car.
The melody (one of my all time favourite pieces of music) is from an ancient Gregorian chant Victimae paschali laudes. It tells the story of Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb of Jesus in the morning and finding it empty.
I composed this piece without referring to the chant, as I thought I knew it off by heart! I’ve discovered I left a bit out, but I’m not going to redo the piece!
Joshua was only thirty-three when he was diagnosed with a fast-moving form of stomach cancer. He was given a week; two weeks at the most; three would be a miracle. His mother took over.
She nursed him from his hospital bed. She sorted out his many visitors; yes, you can see him now; no, I’m sorry he’s resting, you must not disturb him.
How quickly the time passed, and how quickly all visitors were prevented from “upsetting him”.
And then he died. His mother took over the funeral arrangements. Joshua’s wife had had enough. She dismissed the mother-in-law. The mother-in-law had prevented her from nursing her husband in his final days, and now she was arranging the after match function.
Joshua’s mother was so upset that she didn’t even come to the funeral. What lack of gratitude! The ingratitude and unkindness of her cold-hearted ex-daughter-in-law.
It was Ash Wednesday. Cecily never enjoyed Lent. Every year it was the same. Every year, for six weeks, she gave up butter. No butter on her toast in the mornings. No butter on her lunchtime sandwich. Cecily loved butter.
Giving up butter served two purposes: it was some personal sacrifice to make during Lent in the build-up to Easter, and it helped keep the weight down. It’s amazing how a mere six weeks without butter could work wonders with the waistline.
Cecily had eleven grandchildren. They were all coming on Easter Day for a celebration. And they did! What a lovely time! What a lovely day! Quite the loveliest way to celebrate Easter!
“And you know,” said Cecily to her eleven grandchildren, “the thing I most like about Easter Sunday is butter. I always give up butter for Lent.”
When Anthea’s husband passed away they had been married for thirty-eight years. They had no children. Don’t get me wrong; they’d tried frequently, furiously and fruitlessly to make a baby. And now Anthea was on her own.
The time between the death and the funeral was a roller-coaster ride. She had to organise the funeral service: select a coffin, arrange for flowers, for pall-bearers, for a church minister, for hymns, for an organist… She was busy, busy, busy.
Then friends visited. It was cup of tea after cup of tea. There was little time for mourning. She sometimes wished the visitors would disappear, but she was nonetheless grateful for their presence.
And then came the evening and the night. She never knew a night could be so dismal and so long. So lonely. So bleak. Such fearful unending darkness.
Anthea sat on the end of the bed and waited. And waited.
Honora was horrified. Utterly horrified! She’d taken her daughter, Desdemona, to the great Easter egg drop. It was at the park. A helicopter was going to drop thousands of Easter eggs, and the children would rush to find them. Such fun! Such marshmallow chocolate! Such noise! And all on Good Friday to commemorate the death of Jesus!
But that’s not why she was horrified; she didn’t give a tuppenny stuff about Jesus. It was a holiday, and this chocolate was free!
The organizers were expecting around three thousand people. There were eleven thousand. The helicopter flew over and dropped the Easter eggs.
The rush! The havoc! The scramble! Mothers pushed over other mothers’ children to get to the eggs. Dads tore eggs from the hands of children. Children were scratched, ripped, trampled and in tears. Now that’s why Honora was horrified.
Honora’s Desdemona didn’t get a single Easter egg. She missed out. Look at that! Look at that greedy Chinese woman over there! She has two Easter eggs! Selfish foreigner!
Honora had had enough. She went over, punched the Chinese woman in the face and knocked her to the ground; the greedy foreign immigrant bitch. These foreigners have no concept of sharing.