A look forward: “Vox in Rama”
Vox in Rama (A voice in Rama is heard), is the Communion chant from the Feast of the Holy Innocents which was celebrated only a few weeks ago. This short but extraordinarily beautiful chant is the outcry of Rachel at the death of her children, and her unwillingness to be consoled. Both the range of this chant and its relentless use of a rising and falling half-step musical motive draw us in to the depth of Rachel’s mourning. Each intermediary cadence leaves us with a sense of incompleteness and each new phrase returns to the opening sense of wailing. The ending itself concludes with the outline of a heartsick major triad on the words “because they are not.”
This is probably not a chant many people heard during the recent feast unless attending a full chanted mass that particular day. It now provides a look into what lies ahead on Good Friday. We hear in this chant some of the same sounds we experience in the final Lamentation of Jeremiah heard at the conclusion of the Pascal Triduum. Indeed, that concluding major triad from Vox in Rama foreshadows similar sounds heard at the conclusion of the Holy Saturday Vigil — before the Great Silence of Holy Saturday which leads us to Easter. We actually hear, through the chant, the ultimate redemption of the slaughter of those innocent children through Christ’s own sacrifice.
Image Credit: Gregorian chant
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