Friday, May 3

Orthodox Good Friday: They stripped Me of My garments

One of the most beautiful as well as moving hymns of Good Friday (The Passion Service) is the one below. This is not just a music of unparallelled anguish and beauty; it is also the lyrics that speak directly to the christian's heart
Christ "speaks" in the 1st person here, describing the humiliation he suffered before being crucified:
They stripped me of my garments, and clothed me in a scarlet cloak; they placed a crown of thorns upon my head and put a reed into my right hand, that I might smash them like a potter’s vessels.

Music-wise, I would only like to draw the attention to the apparent change in tone when the words "upon my head" (επί την κεφαλήν μου) are sung (move to 2:00): the Tone of the hymn is Plagal Second, and at this point, it reaches its most highly charged moment; the effect is immense - there is intense emotion (quite rare for Byzantine music) powerfully expressing utter desperation and hopelessness. 

Here is the hymn, as performed by the Hellenic Byzantine Choir and Lykourgos Angelopoulos. I do not know the name of the solo chanter - but I think his singing is superb. 

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