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From the scared, to the secular, to the simply sublime, here are our top 10 best classical Easter music pieces for the ultimate Easter playlist. Listen to the best classical Easter music on Spotify and scroll down to read our selection of the Top 10 essential pieces. In a word?
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Perhaps one of the most stunning examples of relatively unknown early music. Comprised of eighteen motets with text derived from the Catholic liturgy, Victoria writes for simply four voices a cappella. Mahler wrote the text himself. The throbbing string accompaniment creates an atmosphere of excitement and exultation, whilst the rich baritone solo sores above.
The John was first performed during service on Good Friday in , it has remained a core part of the liturgical canon ever since and is one of the best classical Easter music masterpieces. Scored for soloists, chorus and orchestra, John Passion is intense, dramatic, and evocative throughout. Perhaps the most breath-taking moments belong to the Evangelist, for whom, as narrator, Bach writes astounding recitative passages that border on the divine. The St Matthew Passion is a sacred masterpiece on a scale even grander than its John counterpart.
Again, performed by chorus, orchestra, and the Evangelist narrator, the Matthew is arguably the pinnacle of Bach the church musician and is one of the best classical Easter music masterpieces. The Stabat Mater is sombre hymn, conveying the suffering of the Virgin Mary at the crucifixion of Christ. The great Christian truths relating to God and eternity are very moving when they are duly weighed and considered; but they make little or no impression upon worldlings, who live in a perpetual forgetfulness of them.
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To bring forth a lively faith in the soul they must take deep root there. But how shall they take deep root if they are not suffered to sink deep into the soul by consideration? Conclude to labour for the acquiring and maintaining this lively faith, by praying well and living well, but more especially, by thinking well; for without this, thou wilt have little or no sense of God in thy prayer, and little or no sign of God in thy life. Consider first, that hope is also a theological or divine virtue, and is no less necessary than faith to our eternal salvation.
As by faith we believe in God, so by hope we put our whole trust in him. Faith believes all he teaches as coming from the sovereign truth, that cannot deceive nor be deceived; hope looks for all good from him, as the inexhaustible source of all good, with an assured confidence that he will not fail on his part of showing mercy, giving grace, and imparting salvation to us, through Jesus Christ, if we fail not on our part of applying to him in a proper manner, and performing the conditions he requires of us.
This divine virtue produces many excellent fruits it comforts the soul under all the afflictions of this life, it supports her under all her labours, it encourages her to go on with vigour in her mortal pilgrimage, it raises her above this miserable world and all its toys, and fixes her heart in heaven. It is styled by the apostle, Heb. O happy anchor, which keeps our souls ever steady in the midst of all the storms we are liable to in this boisterous sea of the world, and by the help of which they are raised up to God!
Easter Meditations (Words That Rock Your Soul)
Consider 2ndly, that divine hope keeps the golden mean between the two extremes, of despair on the one hand and presumption on the other, both of them reckoned amongst the sins against the Holy Ghost, because of their obstructing in a particular manner all the motions and graces of this divine spirit - despair, by wholly giving up the cause of God and the soul; and presumption, by rashly expecting salvation without complying with the necessary conditions, or using the means for it.
Despair shuts out the Holy Ghost, by wilfully shutting up the gate of prayer, and excluding all other means of grace; and presumption, by setting up a way to heaven opposite to his divine appointments, and in which his grace will have no share. See, my soul, thou fly these two rocks, both of them infinitely injurious to thy God, and destructive of divine hope.
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Never give thyself up to despondence or despair, seeing thou hast so good a God, so rich in mercies towards all that call upon him, who has redeemed thee with the precious blood of his own Son, and who has promised all good through him, to all such as properly apply for it. But then beware also of the opposite extreme of presuming upon what he has not promised, or expecting to come to him by walking in a way that leads from him.
Yes, my soul, put thy whole trust in God, and thou wilt ever be victorious in all thy conflicts; he never forsakes them that put their whole trust in him. Divine hope never confoundeth. Conclude ever to pray and labour for this divine virtue of hope, the sweet companion of thy pilgrimage and safeguard in all dangers. She will teach thee to keep close to God, and engage him to keep close to thee. Consider first, that in order to succeed in the spiritual warfare, an entire distrust in ourselves must go hand-in-hand with our confidence in God. For if we build in the least upon our own strength we build upon a sandy bottom, and our house will certainly fall at the first shock of trial or temptation.
The wise man builds his house upon a rock, Matt. He that entirely trusts in God, and not in himself, is a wise man, and builds upon a rock, which can never fail him. But he that puts the least confidence in himself; is a foolish man, because the bottom he builds upon is mere sand, that cannot support the least weight. They perfectly drive away from them the grace of God, by their pride and presumption. And are not all they guilty of this sacrilegious presumption, who, in their undertakings or resolutions, build upon themselves instead of building upon God or at least divide their confidence between themselves and God, and so would make themselves partners at least in his glory?
See, my soul, thou never be guilty of any such extravagance and madness. For what greater madness can there be than for mere weakness and nothing, a miserable sinful nothing, to presume of itself and of its own strength! Good God, deliver us from any such extravagant madness! Consider 3rdly, that one of the principal reasons why many Christians, that otherwise seem to be men of good will, make little or no progress in the way of God, and why numbers of others, after repeated confessions, and as they imagine strong purposes of renouncing their sinful habits, still return like dogs to the vomit, by relapsing into the same sins, and too often die in their sins, is because they trust too much to themselves, and to their own resolutions, and are not sufficiently divested of all self-confidence.
It makes it barren, with regard to the bringing forth any true fruit to God, either in itself or in others; and fruitful in nothing but in weeds, that are only fit for the fire. My soul, examine well thyself, and see if this unhappy self-confidence has no share in thy enterprise? Art thou practically and sensibly convinced of thy own nothing ness, misery, and sinfulness; and that thou canst not make one step towards God, but inasmuch as he shall help thee!
Does no secret opinion of the strength of thy resolutions make thee rashly expose thyself to temptation? O remember thou hast not half that virtue and love of God, which St. Peter had! Consider first, that divine hope cannot lie idle in the soul, nor suffer her to be idle, but exercises the soul in prayer, as the great means of obtaining all the good she hopes for. Here, in seven short petitions, we pray for all that we are any ways authorized by the word of God to hope for, for ourselves or for our neighbours, for body or soul, for time or eternity.
Here we are taught to make acts of all the most necessary virtues of faith, hope, love of God, conformity to his blessed will, charity for our neighbours, forgiveness of injuries, and repentance for our sins. Here we daily make a spiritual communion by aspiring after the bread of life.
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O the excellence of this heavenly prayer; so short in words, that the meanest capacity may easily learn it, and so copious in its contents, that they might fill whole volumes! And what a pity that the generality of Christians should run over this admirable prayer with so little sense of what they are saying, and with dispositions so opposite to the import of those sacred petitions! Consider 2ndly, that in the beginning of this divine prayer we call God our Father ; and we are authorized to call him so by the Son of God himself.
Stand astonished, my soul, at this high favour: what greater dignity can any creature be raised to, than to be called and to be a child of God? O my soul, see thou never degenerate from this dignity of a child of God, by behaving thyself worthily of such a Father.
See thou never more make thyself a slave to sin or Satan: O child of heaven, lie no longer grovelling in the mire of the earth. My soul, where are thy thoughts in the time of prayer? Do nor irregular affections chain them down to the earth, when they ought to be in heaven? Conclude ever to esteem and love this divine prayer; and daily to use it with a serious attention and suitable devotion. His love for his God makes him rejoice to think that he is, in himself, infinitely happy and glorious, and will be so for all eternity, and that he is, and will be eternally adored, praised, and glorified by all the angels and saints.
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