Sung Tenebrae

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Available on demand

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Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness or shadows. In this evocative liturgy the church candles are gradually extinguished after each reading until there is total darkness.

Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness or shadows. In this evocative liturgy the church candles are gradually extinguished after each reading until there is total darkness. Only a single candle remains lit but even this is hidden. Thus we are led to contemplate the very real darkness of isolation and abandonment that Our Lord felt during that very first Holy Week. Then a loud noise or ‘strepitus’ is made that symbolises the earthquake at the time of Christ’s death (Matthew 27) and the cosmic battle between good and evil. At the moment of the earthquake the veil of the temple was torn thus exposing the Holy of Holies to public view. Christ’s passion reveals a way for us to God that now knows no barrier. After this the sole candle is revealed. By it’s light we are bidden to prepare ourselves to prepare for the Sacred Triduum and the story upon which the whole world turns.

This service is sung at St Augustine’s, Kilburn by a professional octet of London singers drawn from choirs in the See of Fulham. The Bishop of Fulham will read George Herbert’s poem The Sacrifice in sections to intersperse between the passion narratives. The music includes Antonio Lotti’s duly famous Crucifixus à 8.

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