Friday, September 22, 2006

1. "Caire, kecaritomene" (1:46)

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These are the words, in the Greek, that Luke (1:26-38) gives to the angel Gabriel who approaches Mary and tells her of God's plan for her. The most frequent translation I have found for these words has the angel saying to this young woman, Mary, "Hail, full of grace". Other translations of the Bible have translated this as "favored one" (NAS) and "you who are highly favored" (NIV). As a Catholic I prefer the familiarity of "full of grace". Whatever Bible translation you like best, the importance of that greeting, as well as the blessed state of Mary, seems obvious from the greeting.

The annunciation But it is the moment coming from the next phrase that I connected with and recognized as relating to this track:

"Mary was greatly troubled at his words, and wondered what kind of greeting this might be."(Luke 1:29, NIV).

The fear of being alone and approached by a man (presuming the angel named Gabriel would have the appearance of a male), not to mention a man who probably had some supernatural appearance. What fear this young girl must have experienced. And then, when he speaks and refers to her as being "full of grace"! Is it any wonder she would be troubled? Confused? Scared? Perhaps glancing around to see if someone might be coming to rescue her. Perhaps wanting to run and choosing not to. It is not hard to imagine the emotions she may have felt as she heard his words. There is a short section about midway in the piece where, if you close your eyes and listen carefully, in the voices of the strings you can almost hear Gabriel and Mary speak to one another.

Dealing with fear is a frequent theme in the New Testament. Jesus tells many to "be not afraid" in one variation of the phrase or another. It is also easy to imagine normal, hard working people being thrust into the arena of this supernatural activity and experiencing a fearful reaction. It is easy to imagine Mary, undoubtedly alone at the moment of the appearance of Gabriel, being terrified. She was a real girl, with no advance knowledge of how this story would end. For her it was unfolding moment by moment.

Three of the four tracks on this release glance over to a very human Mary at a time when fear or doubt surfaces. We know how she dealt with it, at least to some extent. But in the moments alone at night. Before sleep, or as sleep beckoned. Her courage was probably challenged in some of these moments. And the example she gave us can show us all the way to live with God.

"Caire, kecaritomene" was written last, but falls first in the sequence of the four tracks. It was written on 8/22/06, with some additional work taking place on 9/13. The track was titled and converted to MP3 format on 9/16. Almost like a flashback, this piece of music sets the mood for what is to follow.

The recording was created using an Apple G4 iBook, a Roland JV-35 synth. Software was Apple's GarageBand. The strings are from the GarageBand orchestral sound font package, the piano is from the general GB sondfont library. No loops were used.