The sack of the City of Rome, 24 August 410, by the army of Alaric the Goth,
was an event as shattering to the Roman Empire - or moreso - than the
destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2011 was
to the United States. Back then, people blamed the Christians for the
disaster. Preachers of the old religion(s) accused the Romans of failing in
their obligations to the gods, and claimed that the invaders were a divine
punishment. The more things change, the more they stay the same!
Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, wrote a defense of the Christians, that he
eventually expanded into his great work The City of God. We'll observe
his feast day at our Jazz Mass on Sunday 2 September, and we'll touch on the
themes of apocalypse that are raised by the disasters that befall the
empires of the world.
-Rev. Reid Hamilton
Prelude - "Big Science", Laurie Anderson, arr. Quartex
Processional - "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel"
Psalm Tone - "Praise Tone", Stephen Rush
Gospel Hymn - "He Is The Way", 1982 #464
Creed - "Blues Credo", Stephen Rush
Prayer Response - "Our Soul is Waiting For God", Taizé
Offertory - "Salamu Maria"
Sanctus - "Sanctus", Franz Schubert
Communion Hymn - "Prepare the way of the Lord"
Closing Hymn - "We'll Understand It Better By and By"
Postlude - "The Magic City", Sun Ra, arr. Quartex
Music director's note: One of Augustine's main ideas in The City of God is that human beings are inherently flawed and cannot create utopia by their efforts alone: that the grace of God (and the crucifixion of Christ) is needed to redeem humanity. This idea made me think of Laurie Anderson's "Big Science", particularly where she sings "Golden cities ... golden towns", but the rest of the lyrics are quite relevant as well. Anderson's wit allows a deathly serious lyric to have a slightly sarcastic tone, and vice-versa; Quartex will endeavor to capture the essence of "Big Science" without exactly replicating the version on Anderson's album.
As the postlude, I chose Sun Ra's "The Magic City". The melody to the piece is long and winding, almost four full pages of written music. In its original version (rec'd in 1966), the melody is played by Ra on a warbling synthesizer, which is often buried in rhythm and horn accompaniment. The recording runs nearly 30 minutes. Quartex will perform a stripped-down version of this, again attempting to capture the basic essence of it.