Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Oakland: St John Passion at St Paul's

Crossing over 
to the sunny side of the street

 St John's Passion
Bach gazes on divinity,
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Liturgy of Good Friday

and prayers

 As I came in they were commencing
The part of the service
In which an enormous wooden cross
Is brought in and set before the altar
The clergy then the congregation
Went up in succession to kneel down
and put upon it their hands

  Reverend Doctor Mauricio 
The three main vocalists standing,
White-beard Philip Saunders sings 
the words of Jesus,
Bass voice Paul Tavernier sings Pilate's

 Jesus dies on the cross

 Joshua Black
Standing at the eagle lectern,
Sings the role of the Evangelist
Narrating as it were

  I know the archlute player
Theorbo to us hep cats,
Howard's Jewish 
But then so was Saint Paul

 Like many of us here
Jesus has snow on the roof today

 Jesus is taken down from the cross

 Tenor Kyle Stegall
Bach provided him with soaring sustained notes
and God gave him the gift to hit them

 Bringing up the reserved hosts
Candles I'd noticed
A-lit in a side altar

Alto solo
Frankie Mansfield
Poised and perfect

 The foreboding cross

 The Saints were wiped out
The crisis of illumination

 Dr. David Farr
the brilliant denouement

 My heart has joined in 
and I've taken Communion
We are borne aloft with Christ

 Jesus is laid in the tomb

The Altar 
Piece de Resistance

The Clergy and the main vocalists
Formally approach the cross

Though three people strained to carry it in,
Solid heavy wood
Rev Mauricio single-handedly 
Picks it up

Puts it on his shoulder

And carries it all around
The Stations of the Cross

He is not only a Man of God,
He's a man

Someone to get in line behind

Le Clavier

 An exquisite harpsichord

 Where fine art and craftmanship meet


Kathleen McIntosh 
on the ivories,

 Baroque inlay interior
I sat close as I could
To hear Bach's inventions
Played just so

What would Jesus Smoke? 

Jesus and his cousin
Rolling a smoke
25 March 2016

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