Zadok the Priest

Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.

The choral entrance is spectacular here.



Has a composer ever done more with ten words and a few chords and tones? A stunning choral entrance. Then follows a fun dance as all the people rejoice – it’s much better in the live version at the actual coronation where people are actually rejoicing for the first time in ages after the end of WWII – and of course it ends with a thrilling hallelujah because Handel.

When I visited Westminster Abbey, I walked around looking for George Frederick Handel’s grave. I finally found it off in one of the side areas. People walk to and fro casually, it’s surrounded by flats of chairs and things. No one notices the grave or pays attention, it’s just a stone in the floor that people walk by constantly.

I was having a religious experience and wondering what music they played at his funeral. What was like to experiment with his compositions for the first time in the Abbey back in the day?

Listening to the anthem while driving around, via Apple Music in the Subaru, I can’t help but think – “Oh just crown the woman.” This is a great culture to keep alive – even if they’re in our Catholic Abbey and must revert one day for the benefit of their immortal souls.

But if they do, they might use guitars instead of Handel Coronation anthems. And the world is so quick to get rid of Catholic monarchies these days – one can’t blame them, really, for being skeptical. Still… they’re clearly fine with having Elton John on his piano doing things in the Abbey, so why not just revert to the one true Faith?

Here is a cleaner version for you to hear, with a great history attached for your reading pleasure, and for your music history education.

Enjoy

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One of the last official acts of the reign of George I of Great Britain was to both naturalize George Frideric Handel as a British citizen and to commission Handel to write the coronation anthem for King George’s son and successor, George II.

As 1727 drew to a close, Britain had been enduring a generation’s worth of political and religious turmoil. The union of Scotland and England was still tenuous at best, with many Scots and English Catholics (Jacobites by name) still supporting the line of the deposed King James II.

When George I (of the House of Hanover) assumed the throne in 1714, he was hardly popular — he spoke German and not English — many Jacobites rose against him and joined James in rebellion. The rebellion was put down, but anti-Hanoverian sentiments still ran strong.

George I looked to the Old Testament for a parallel to his situation, and found one in 1 Kings. The Bible told how King David of Israel, while nearing death was facing his own succession crisis. After some deliberation, he chose his son Solomon as his heir, rather than Solomon’s ambitious half-brother Adonijah. In a grand ceremony, David’s most trusted advisors, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, annointed Solomon as king.

George feared another Jacobite uprising (which nonetheless came in 1745), and wanted to use the spectacle of his son’s coronation to establish George II as the legitimate ruler in the public’s eye.

Thus Handel was called upon to write an appropriately-grandiose set of anthems for the ceremony, and he didn’t disappoint. Four anthems were sung that day: The King Shall Rejoice, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, My Heart Is Inditing and Zadok the Priest, but it is the last that has endured.

Zadok the Priest was first sung during the annointing of George II during his coronation on 11 October 1727. It since has been sung at at every British coronation since 1727, the only anthem from Handel’s four to endure the last three centuries. It is traditionally performed during the sovereign’s anointing. The anthem is anything but subtle.

Regal, yes. Ambitious, yes. But subtle? I’m afraid not. It is played in four-four time, and at a slow tempo (about 60 beats per minute), picking up to ~80 bpm at the first “God save the king”. The anthem is written in seven-part SSAATBB harmony, sung in the key of D flat. The libretto was adapted from a Latin antiphon, “Unxerunt Salomonem Sadoc sacerdos”.

The running time of the piece can vary between 5:15 and 5:45, depending on the arrangement and conductor.

…*Correction in the Timeline* Charles II’s father King Charles I was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. The English Parliament did not proclaim Charles II as king, and instead passed a statute that made any such proclamation unlawful. England entered the period known to history as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth and the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell.

The Parliament of Scotland, however, proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649 in Edinburgh. He was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on 1 January 1651. Following his defeat by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, Charles fled to mainland Europe and spent the next nine years in exile in France, the United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands.

A political crisis following the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in Charles being invited to return and assume the throne in what became known as the Restoration. Charles II arrived on English soil on 27 May 1660 and entered London on his 30th birthday, 29 May 1660.

After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if Charles had succeeded his father in 1649. Charles was crowned King of England and Ireland at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661 and reigned until 1685.

From the YouTube channel entry “Zadok the Priest”, the channel of BritainShallPrevail, accessed online July 5, 2020.

On Trinity Sunday

If all the world is a stage in this magnificent Earth the Lord God almighty has created for us, then what have we to fear? He wrote the script, we know it ends well when Jesus Christ will come again. It’s only the world that tells us to be afraid. 

We need only to look to our triune God – He’s all that matters. They created us in His image and likeness, male and female we’re created, to enjoy the Earth and all that is in it; to tend the garden of the Tree of Life, and to enjoy all that is good. He’s given us dominion once again as adopted sons and daughters filled with His Spirit, to master His creation in His name, to glorify Him through the might and wonder He works in our lives and to ever reach new heights of glory, power, humility, meekness, greatness. 

The world will tell us to be afraid, to feel shame, to be depressed. The world tries to teach us to compromise, to hate, to isolate – that there’s something wrong with us. The father of lies lives boldly, with many willing servants to do his bidding 

Ezra Pound in his Canto #1 recounts the story of Odysseus descending to the underworld and making his way back up into the light. He ends the story with a colon ( : ) that most take in a literary sense. 

But a Canto is a song, in music that colon is a repeat sign – meaning the story is repeated. Odysseus becomes Everyman, who’s journey in life takes on the dramatic arc we will all call our own. 

We each journey into the world, listen to the world, peer deeply into the mysteries of life. Ultimately, find God anew in all things, always filling our sails, guiding our path, shining His light before our steps, filling us with His Spirit.

O eternal Trinity, Thou art my maker and I am Thy creation. Illuminated by Thee, I have learned that Thou hast made me a new creation through the Blood of Thine Only-begotten Son because Thou art captivated by love at the beauty of Thy creation.

O eternal Trinity, O Divinity, O unfathomable abyss, O deepest sea, what greater gift could Thou givest me then Thy very Self? Thou art a fire that burns eternally yet never consumed, a fire that consumes with Thy heat my self-love. Again and again Thou art the fire who taketh away all cold heartedness and illuminateth the mind by Thy light, the light with which Thou hast made me to know Thy truth.

By this mirrored light I know Thou are the highest good, a good above all good, a fortunate good, an incomprehensible good, an unmeasurable good, a beauty above all beauty, a wisdom above all wisdom, for Thou art wisdom itself, the food of angels, the fire of love that Thou givest to man.

Thou art the garment covering our nakedness. Thou feedest our family with Thy sweetness, a sweetness Thou art from which there is no trace of bitterness. O Eternal Trinity! Amen.

Act of Thanksgiving to the Trinity, 
by St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Doctor of the Church
from her Dialogue on Divine Providence

Most blessed Trinity, Father Son, and Holy Ghost, we praise you, we adore you, we glorify you.

We worship you now and forever.

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COVID Lockdown Takeaways

I still find myself saying “What just happened?!” regarding our COVID existence, and am also completely aware it’s still going on. It was the oddest of times, when we all found ourselves more or less making everything up as we went along – to both respond to the developing situations and to help smooth the way for others.

Being an introvert I at first thought it would be a great time to catch up on my spiritual reading, take long walks and get the garden in order. It turned out to be anything of the sort, with long days spent in constant communication with so many people about their concerns, trials, tribulations, joys, sorrows, lessons, prayers, and of course the overwhelming desire for the sacraments by so many.

All of that is completely understandable, but what has happened in our era of instant communication with 24/7 access, a new phenomenon has spring up where everyone is at home in their individualized setting, needing an individualized response, each with separate suggestions, ideas, etc.

For instance, whereas you usually might have suggestions from the morning coffee group, the St. Joseph Guild, the Finance Council, what have you – it became 1,000 or so people with time to consider everything in-depth, all needing, quite validly, to express their opinion to one person. That was overwhelming until I developed new understandings of people’s needs during the lockdown. People needed to vent. They needed the Eucharist. They needed Confession. Some just wanted to talk. Overall it was a beautiful time of getting to know people more in-depth.

At some point also, I developed a new respect for my privacy. I’ve always felt it a pubic service to be on social media, to type things up on my site so that I could keep in touch with people – and I do keep in touch with some of the most amazing people out there, half of whom are parishioners and so many from all over the place.

But there’s that old adage about public living – 20% will always love you, 20% will always hate you, and 60% are indifferent. The numbers vary according to who tells the tale, but it’s the hate that I don’t necessarily have the time for anymore. You have to have a thick skin to be a priest, to begin with, and more so to have the conversations we’re able to have in our Parish and online. I don’t see many other Pastors bringing in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, undertaking historic renovations and working to make sure it all flows well and is built on a solid foundation while at the same time making sure everyone’s spiritual needs are met to the best of our ability.

There was a saying in seminary that “everything you do or say, can and will be used against you.” I didn’t experience it like that to be honest, mostly because I am an open person – guarded, and not necessarily confessional, but open. It’s even more true in Priesthood that everything you say or do can and will be used against you because as a Pastor some will always hate you. The exercise is to respond in charity, to practice understanding, and to plan in hope, with fortitude. Then let it go.

Sharing so personally is not necessary. I remember in Boy’s State back in High School, I was the Library Club geek who was a projectionist at the Star Trek conventions, in the Key Club, gold medal winner in almost everything but math, First in State in French – pourqois je ne sais pas – surrounded by a bunch of jocks who called themselves the Faithful Five. They ruled the roost like a pack of bullies and they were truly just horrible. They especially didn’t like me, and I was the brunt of their disdain which took shape in every way shape or form possible over the course of that one miserable week, which had so many great and wonderful ideas to offer us about leadership.

At the end of the week, there was a huge emotional ceremony at the State Capital building and gradually everyone started bursting into tears. I was thinking “You’ve got to be kidding me,” surrounded by hundreds of high school dudes sobbing their eyes out for no reason. Gradually everyone in our city (or parish? it was a while ago,) came over and started telling me I was the strongest one there – because the Faithful Five had never cracked me, never gotten me to flinch, never caused me to waver from the course. They were humiliated, and everyone forgot about them. Once I realized what was happening, I had some teary moments also.

Being a Priest can be like that at times.

Psychologically, with everyone’s stress levels raised to about 10,000 times the normal limit, I decided to invest in an online course dealing with Cognitive Behavorial Therapy (CBT) and addictions, known as the Freedom Model. It’s been an invaluable experience, and CBT is recognized as the future in addiction treatment.

One of the most valuable facts was learning how people start to behave when they believe traditional recovery beliefs. For example – one is told they have a disease that’s incurable, it runs in the family, it’s genetic, it’s an allergy. They will have to hit rock bottom, there’s no way to avoid it. Their family learns this also and is convinced their child has to hit rock bottom. The stage is set.

I’ve seen so many people in this doomed mindset. All personal ability to change – to put on the new man in Christ, to cooperate with grace, to simply make different choices, to acquire new beliefs, to learn new habits and to do new, fun enjoyable things – is taken away. “I’m an addict, I can’t help it.” Science shows otherwise and, in our enlightened world where we give so much lip service to science while rarely taking the time to genuinely learn from it (i.e. abortion actually is harmful to women, and life does begin at conception,) it’s time to welcome bright new ideas with solid foundations, which are completely compatible with our Faith.

So begins the COVID lockdown takeaway series.

I have a few new writing projects away from here, and I have to decide if this site should really stay or not. Maybe it’s best just parked away on some back bayou of the interwebz, for random explorers to find. It generates a surprising amount of traffic from time to time. It was getting a bit more focussed in a new direction when suddenly the techs at Kinsta restored some old posts and the newer ones went into the archives. That happens – but the takeaway is that people do need presence from the introverts fo the world. Whether it’s in a more focussed blog project, steady streams of videos, or both and more.

So much to do and see still in life. This has been a grand and terrible time, with many beautiful lessons, from many beautiful people.

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Ken-AYE

Random life

When you’re named Kenneth it doesn’t really matter what you prefer, because people make their own decisions on what your name is. (In the same way, the cover picture on this post doesn’t really matter as to the content of the post. But Fox Squirrels are fascinating creatures. Less fascinating than us, but still… More on that later.)

Kenneth

For instance, growing up my family always called me Kenneth which to this day most of my grammar school friends and all of my family still use.

My grandparents were pretty formal on both sides and called me Kenneth. The Monsignor in my Parish growing up also called me Kenneth, as did all of my teachers.

I love it.

I still remember Monsignor Melancon coming into class with our Report Cards, sitting down in the middle of the room as the entire class was rearranged, and calling our names to come up and get our reports, as we trembled in fear and expectation.

“Kenneth?”

*tremble*

“Very good.”

*reflect*

Kenny

Some of my friends shortened that to Kenny. That transferred to music, and all of my music friends have and still call me Kenny. The Archbishop of NOLA is friends with some of my music friends and has always insisted on calling me Kenny.

I love it.

Ken

The business side of the world has always decided they can’t call someone Kenny, and that Kenneth is too formal, and Kenny too informal. So they call me Ken.

I’m OK with it.

At times I’ve encouraged it because I don’t really have the time to deal with people’s personal issues over my name. I can’t help but feel that anyone named Kenneth goes through the same thing.

“What’s your name?”

  • “Kenneth.”

“What would you like to be called?”

  • “?”

Call me what you will, but don’t call me late for dinner. ;-]

But the thing is, my brother eventually took to calling me “Ken-aye”! (A for Allen of course, and a play on Kenny.)

So, to this day I often sign my name as Ken A.

I know you’re fascinated by these tidbits of info. But I’m actually fascinated by the tidbits of info which you all share with me. It’s not that I have a low threshold of excitement, it’s that you are all fascinating people. I’m just trying to share and be open while we’re all going through this COVID shutdown mess. My heart goes out to all who are struggling.

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KenA

Julia of Corsica

Julia of Corsica

“My liberty is the service of Christ, whom I serve every day with a pure mind. As for that error of yours, I not only do not venerate it, I detest it.”

St. Julia of Corsica

I’ve been fascinated with Julia of Corsica for an entire day now. When you’re praying for the guidance of the saints and one jumps out saying hello, why not look a bit further?

She was born in the 5th Century to a noble family in Carthage, and when the city was captured she was sold into slavery! Can you imagine having a good, no-doubt great upbringing in the Faith, with a no-doubt elegant life, then being sold as a slave? She remained strong in the Faith and in her noble character, denouncing the error of the enemy, refusing to worship false idols, and being put to death by crucifixion.

I wonder if she could have ever imagined I might be sitting here typing away so freely about her as she enjoyed the beatific vision. I wonder if she’s had her eye on me, wanting to assist me in my Faith life and in my work.

She’s patroness of those who suffer torture, as in slavery, trafficking. Those in torture due to addictions and the desires of the flesh and of the world, also invoke her aid in a special way. And – her last words decry error.

Trafficking, slavery, addiction, error… Now where have I encountered all of that before? #theresnoplacelikehome

St. Julia, pray for us. And thank you for your Faith, your aid, and your example.

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*Image is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.