The text of the piece I wanted to share with you today comes from a single line of Psalm 118 ("Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord"). This Psalm is centered on God, in an expression of gratitude and admiration. It is the last psalm in the sequence of psalms known as the Egyptian Hallel (Psalm 113-118), which is often recited in its entirety on major Jewish Holidays. In the Hebrew tradition Psalm 118 emphasizes reliance on God, rather than human strength, as a vehicle for salvation.
Last Thursday, we've touched on the evolution of the concept of salvation between the Jewish and the Christian traditions. Salvation is no longer seen as a historical event, but a spiritual one. It is no longer about the preservation of an entire people, but that of an individual soul.
In this context, this line of Psalm 118 becomes associated with the moment of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. I find this moment very touching, in part owing to the mental dissonance between Christ and the crowds. The crowds still operate on the Old Testament conceptions. They treat salvation as a historical event, they greet Christ as the promised conqueror and anticipate His great triumph. To them, this is a happy event only. This, of course, is what makes this scene so heartbreaking.
I thought it would be interesting to pair this piece with "Goin' home", an vocal adaptation of the second movement of the "New World Symphony" by A. Dvorak.
Karl Jenkins - Benedictus from The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
Hope it adds something to your day! Vlad S.