Sunday, November 30, 2003

Music For the Day Peace, all. "Creator of the Stars of Night," possibly the premier Advent hymn, probably not known in many parishes. I have yet to serve a parish that included it in its repertoire before I arrived. But monasteries would not be without it. A word that strikes me: "Sidus," Latin for "celestial object," is translated as stars, but how can a poet translate that term into something inclusive of planets, moons, nebulae, comets, interstellar dust clouds and galactic clusters, not to mention the great attractor? So if you sing "stars of night," think those great photos from Hubble, not twinkle, twinkle. ... And an image from verse 3: that of Mary's womb being the wedding chamber. When I was younger, I would have found that a strange or jarring metaphor. Today, it strikes me as a warm image. Four weeks of Advent does not give a pastoral musician much of an opening for quantity .. which may be a good thing. This hymn is essential to parish worship, and a good complement to that other Advent chestnut. Feel free to comment on your take on this piece or other pieces in "Music of the Day" as they get posted.

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