As I said earlier in this January 2013 NaBloPoMo exercise, listening to music usually recharges my energy. Listening to music can also greatly reduce my stress level and also can assist in my prayer life. I’ve decided that on Mondays this year, I’m going to attempt to share here some of the music that does each of those things in the hope that anyone who stumbles past this little corner of the blogosphere will be served by them as well.
Today, I wanted to share a piece that I used on Saturday. I was on the verge of a migraine and wanted to lay quietly in a darkened room with an ice pack on my head. The problem was that I couldn’t quiet the brain monkeys who kept chattering and chattering and leaping from branch to branch. This piece, because of the way it is written and performed and the fact that it is in a language I don’t understand gave my brain monkeys something to focus on while I tried to unclench my upper back muscles and breath through the pulsing pain of the migraine.
As you listen to the harmonies and vowels shift and change, sit comfortably and breathe. Don’t change your breathing to make it faster or slower or match the music somehow; just pay attention to it. When you inhale, imagine inhaling the light and beauty of the sounds; when you exhale, imaging exhaling the stress and tension in your muscles and your mind. Let your shoulders relax. Unclench your jaw. Let your hands rest in your lap. Imagine floating on the sound as you might float on water, letting it bear you up without you having to work against gravity.
For those who must know, the text comes from the Great Liturgy of the Orthodox Christian church. It is called the Cherubikon and is sung at the beginning to symbolically include all present with the choirs of angels singing around God for all eternity.
This setting is by Tchaikovsky. The English translation of the text is:
We who mystically represent the Cherubim,
and who sing to the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly cares
that we may receive the King of all,
escorted invisibly by the angelic orders.