Good Friday 2011

It is no surprise to regular readers that one of my favorite services of the year is the Good Friday meditation at the Washington National Cathedral.  I wrote about it in 2009 and again in 2010.

Candice, Claire, and I were back this year with two friends joining us for the service.  My blog must be reaching huge numbers as the St. Joseph’s chapel was packed!

The music was as contemplative and haunting as ever.  Cathedral Music Director Mike McCarthy was the soloist on his arrangement of the Troparian.  Andrew’s voice teacher, Soprano Diane Atherton, sang the lovely solos that soared above the Taize chants in the vault-like setting of the chapel.

We missed having Andrew with us this year, as he’d already attended two Good Friday services and we gave him the night off.  At his school’s chapel he sang a solo on the opening verse of that wonderful spiritual Were You There, and then he was off to his singing gig with St. John’s Lafayette Square for their noon day service.

I don’t have Andrew singing his solo, but I have something that’s mighty fine.  Here’s a video of American Treasure (and MacArthur Genius Grant winner) Marion Williams with an amazing version of Were You There.  I love it when she says, “I can’t stand too much of this song.”  That says it all.

More to come…


Live at BWI

Every now and then there are advantages to getting on a plane once a week.  Tonight I experienced one of them.

I am a fan of guitarist Muriel Anderson.  You’ve got to love a classical guitarist whose first influence was Doc Watson!  She can play anything…from classical to jazz to bluegrass.

So I was pleased and surprised when I saw on her Facebook page earlier this week that she would be playing something called BWI Live. At BWI Airport.   In Baltimore.  Among the baggage carousels and Hudson Books.  On April 7th.  The night I was returning from a day trip to Cleveland.  Through BWI!

So in the midst of a very busy day, week, month, season – you name it – I had a sublime evening sitting in the aforementioned baggage claim area listening to beautiful music with ten or fifteen other guitar aficionados.  Muriel Anderson shut out the noise of passing travelers, the cleaning staff, and God knows what else to showcase music from her most recent CD New World Flamenco and other examples of her recorded work.  She played a beautiful Vincent (from her collection of Harp Guitar duets with John Doan), charmed us all with a love song entitled Arioso, whipped through a fingerstyle version of Angeline the Baker (which I’ve never heard played with so many chords) coupled with Foggy Mountain Breakdown, and even indulged my request with the spirited Day Tripper (watch the wonderful video here.)  God, I love the bass figures she plays in that tune!

So I’ve gone to the YouTube archive and came up with Anderson playing a duet with Tommy Emmanuel on the Don McLean tune Vincent. As a duet, on harp guitar, or solo on the six string – as she played it tonight – this is a lovely, lovely tune by a world-class musician.  And I got to see her live at BWI!

Sublime indeed.  Enjoy.

More to come…