“In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving.” So wrote St. Augustine, in a line often paraphrased as “Singing is praying twice.” And as Pope Benedict added in his recent address at the Collège des Bernardins in France, “For prayer that issues from the word of God, speech is not enough: Music is required.” Imitating the monks of old, Christians, he said, ought to “pray and sing in a manner commensurate with the grandeur of the word handed down to them, with its claim on true beauty.”
With that in mind, this sacred music concert caught my eye: “A Decade of the Rosary” will be sung by soprano Constanza Mueller next Sunday at 1 p.m., in Manhattan’s Church of Notre Dame. The musical prayera Pater Noster, ten Ave Marias, and a Gloriawill feature the compositions of Jacques Arcadelt, Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Bruckner, Giulio Caccini, AntonÃn DvoÅÃ¡k, Edward Elgar, Charles Gounod, Claudio Monteverdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Camille Saint-SaÃ«ns, and Franz Schubert. The church is at 405 E. 114th St., and the concert is free and open to the public.
“Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,” wrote John Donne, beginning his lovely but little-known sonnet sequence, La Corona , contemplating the mysteries of the Rosary:
But do not with a vile crown of frail bays
Reward my Muse’s white sincerity;
But what Thy thorny crown gain’d, that give me,
A crown of glory, which doth flower always.
. . .
‘Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high;
Salvation to all that will is nigh.