Monday, February 2, 2009


Today is the Feast of Candlemas, or the Presentation of the Lord also known as the Purification. It commemorates the Presentation of the Child Jesus by His parents, Joseph and Mary at the Temple. St. Simeon, who received the child and the gifts they brought, said, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace According to Thy word! For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation Which Thou has prepared before the face of all peoples To be a light to the Gentiles, And to be the glory of Thy people, Israel."

It is sung every night as part of Compline and was set to Polyphony by Orlando Gibbons. The St. Ann Choir sang this as part of the Requiem Masses for both of my parents, Helen Rose Manor and Frederick James Manor. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music that I have ever sung or heard.

The Nunc Dimittis was also featured as voice over music in the BBC production of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor trying to tape record it from the television when it was first on. Not a very successful enterprise. I see now, via another blog, Desperate Irish Housewife, that it is up on YouTube (of course). For her link, go here

The Feast itself brings back memories of singing a glorious liturgy with a candlelight procession at Stanford Memorial Church in the mid-seventies. The chant for this feast is especially beautiful. It was the experience with this liturgy and this choir that led me to graduate school at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Now I feel that technology has brought my life full circle as I blog about these experiences and post these links. I am grateful and only regret that I cannot participate tonight in the Mass the choir is singing at another church than Mem Chu. I wish they would make Podcasts.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Running a little late here.... I participated in at least one of those Candlemas masses at Mem Chu. Thanks for posting this -- it brought back great memories.