Pie Jesu, Easter Day
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a vocal masterclass my voice teacher set up with a professor from Utah Valley University. The masterclass took place in a beautiful episcopalian sanctuary. The church had prepared the space for Easter Sunday, and the spirit that was there was sublime.
The piece I had chosen to workshop was, quite appropriately, Faure’s “Pie Jesu” from Requiem.
Now let’s back up a bit. I had surgery the Wednesday before this masterclass. The surgery was supposed to be easy to recover from, but my body has a tendency to react very negatively to the smallest intrusion, and also reacts very poorly to narcotics.
The days following the surgery were very discouraging. My husband had to take more work off than we’d originally planned. I was confined to the couch and even getting up to go to the bathroom felt like a large excursion.
Saturday morning, my husband returned to work, but soon I was calling him pretty desperate, and he took off early. He was home before I had to leave for my masterclass, and he didn’t want me to attend. The thought of missing out on such a wonderful experience that I had worked hard for broke my heart, so I told him a had to go. So he went with me, because he’s the most supportive man in the world, and we both prayed I would handle it well.
At the masterclass, I was inspired by the stained glass windows and the beautifully carved crucifix in the chapel. As I delivered my piece, I concentrated hard on phrasing, dynamics, and breath support. Especially breath support– “Pie Jesu” is notorious for its difficulty in breath and phrasing.
After singing through the piece, the first thing the professor had me do was turn around and look at the crucifix. She told me to study Christ’s face, she told me Faure wrote “Pie Jesu” for his parents’ funeral, and she told me to sing the first line again, only to sing it to Christ.
“Pie Jesu Domine…”
Holy Jesus Lord…
“Dona eis requiem…”
Give them rest….
As I looked at Christ hanging on the cross, and I sang to Him, “Holy Jesus,” I felt a love for Him stronger than I had ever felt before. I truly understood the words I sang, and the words flowed from me without any thought for technique, for I was focused on my Savior, and I was singing to Him, for Him.
After this exercise, the professor exclaimed how beautiful and moving that was before moving on to technical work-shopping.
After the masterclass I thought a lot about that moment. It was truly transcendent. I knew it had impacted my heart in a permanent way.
I came home exhausted and in pain from the short outing. Immediately that spirit of peace left me and I cried out in frustration that such a small task could make me feel so awful.
My husband then offered to give me a blessing, the third one that week actually. In that blessing Heavenly Father promised (for the second time) that I would be recovered by time the weekend was through. He offered comfort and acknowledgment of my frustration.
I spent the rest of the day in my usual place on the couch, getting up every once in a while to try and walk off the nausea.
This morning, Easter morning, I woke with my spirit knowing today was special. As I got out of bed I noticed immediately the lack of nausea and the significant decrease in pain. I felt an energy I hadn’t experienced in a very long time, and I knew today would be the last day I would be physically limited.
While I showered I pondered my experience the day before, I thought of the words to that beautiful song, which is almost a lullaby, and I felt immense gratitude. I felt grateful for the chance I had to sing “Pie Jesu,” grateful for the chance to experience that beautiful chapel sanctuary and take a small part in another Faith’s Easter worship, and grateful for the opportunity to feel such overwhelming love for my Savior.
Today I appreciate more than I ever have the message of Easter. Today I have experienced new life. I truly understand the feelings of rejuvenation, of new birth. I have tasted the bliss of resurrection and felt the atonement work in a way I did not know it could.
Dona eis requiem.
Holy Jesus Lord,
Give them rest.
My savior, my Lord, He has already given me rest. Eternal peace.