Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Arvo Part>Festina Lente

For week 2 of the Lent playlist, I've chosen Arvo Part's 'Festina Lente' (Miserere, 1990). This is a Songs for the Journey first because I'm going highbrow with a 'Classical' piece (although a misnomer of course because it's not classical but modern, but you know what I mean).

I bought my first Part CD about 15 years ago, under the influence of my wife who was heavily into Gorecki and Taverner at the time. 'Festina Lente' is a sort of add on track to the 'Miserere' but actually was the stand out piece on the CD for me. It's quite confusing but 'festina lente' doesn't actually have anything to do with the festival of Lent although you could be forgiven for thinking so. In fact it is Latin for 'make haste slowly', which is a Roman proverb. But then again, in other ways it does have a lot to do with Lent.

If Lent is a season to ponder and reflect on God and our place in the world then doing something slowly is of course apt. However, simply retreating from the harsh realities of the world for 6 weeks is not an option for most of us. Whether we like or not, people and work demand us to do stuff. And so perhaps this is a rightful motto for Lent 2008 - do stuff, but do it with patience, with humility, with reflection and with measured intent. And all the better if this beautiful piece of music is the soundtrack to such activity.

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