Solstice in the south
The shortest (and longest) day has just passed (as has the Solstice reference at South Woden last Sunday — but here are a couple more ideas anyway.) It’s cold in Canberra but from now on, those dark evenings will gradually lighten.
Previously at the Solstice we have picked up a common theme in the psalms of relief after stress, peace after conflict, safety after danger. In Psalm 77, sure enough, it comes up right at the start of the selection for this Sunday 26 June:
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. / I will call to mind the deeds of the LORD; I will remember your wonders of old / I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds. (vs 10 – 12)
Note verse 11 is the one Isaac Everett uses in his refrain, as pointed out in the previous post. For the Solstice refrain used two years ago The psalm was 86, with a tune that dips to a slow low then rises to greet the spring:
However, a rework for Ps 77 is easy enough. Refitting with a selective paraphrase of the verses quoted above, it goes:
Cantor: In our troubles | we seek God || People: We meditate on | all your work re- | membering your mighty deeds.
A chord is omitted there, I see; insert G7 after the third chord Eb. A full SATB arrangement, with a parallel tone for chanted verses, is in our library.
The majority of followers and readers of this blog are, in fact, in the northern hemisphere, where it’s summertime and, for the most part, the livin’ is easy.
In many of the lively evening streets in Berlin last night a festive air was quite palpably abroad. The Fête de la Musique (not sure why the title is in French) was in full swing. I am told it is held on the same date each year to coincide with the summer solstice. Crowds were out late to celebrate. The recognition is not religious but clearly follows an ancient spiritual awareness in the community of our being connected to the life cycles of creation.
The Turkish market was bustling. Musicians sang in the streets. A group of spirited young women sang on the banks of the canal, accompanied by clapping and listeners joining in familiar folk tunes. Young people in baggy tie-dye and dreads sat chatting, drinking and listening to the music and the song of the solstice spirit.
The concave tune shown above does not fit so well in this context, at least to the degree that shape matters a jot. Someone will have to rewrite to a concave rise and fall tune to suit the joy of a rising summer and the prospect of a fruitful autumn before the winter frosts. Perhaps the succeeding verses of Psalm 77 would be better:
Your way, O God, is holy. You are the God who works wonders; you have displayed your might among the peoples (vs 14, 15)
And behind it all is the symmetry of human experience in north and south, east and west, as cycles repeat, generations follow. The creative spirit is pervasive and infectious.