Christ is risen from the dead!
By death he trampled Death;
and to those in the tombs he granted life.

With Christians of every age and every place, let us join our voices in praise of God – “Alleluia!” To express our joyful praise, we dig deep in the treasury of our faith.  The Hebrew roots of the word, found throughout the Old Testament, are hallel (praise) and Yah (an abbreviation of the not-to-be pronounced name of God).

Easter is not merely a day. Easter is a season of celebration that lasts for fifty days, until Pentecost – May 24 this year. That’s approximately one-seventh of the year, just as Sunday is one-seventh of the week.  The whole Easter is the Great Sunday!

In our parish Easter bulletin, I promised a selection of musical Alleluias. Here are my favorites:

Here is the Gregorian chant by the monks of Solesmes. The Latin text reads, “On the day of my resurrection, says the Lord, I will go before you into Galilee.”

Hildegard, however, was not to be outdone by the boys.

Musical purists hate it, but the rest of us love the magnificent make-over of Handel’s Messiah by Sir Eugene Goosens and splendidly recorded in 1959 by the Sir Thomas Beecham. Here’s the Hallelujah Chorus:

My very favorite Alleluia is the one by Mozart, which concludes the motet Exsultate, Jubilate. It seems to me to have the structure of a concerto for soprano and orchestra, and the Alleluia is the concluding Rondo.  Nobody ever did it better than the late, incomparable Victoria de los Angeles, recorded in 1959. Her intimate style is perfect for Mozart, and she sings with unmatched sweetness and grace.

Note: If the Beecham “Hallelujah” leaves you salivating for more, here’s a newly posted YouTube video of the whole breathtaking Messiah perfomance, with glorious sound and engaging visual effects:

And, no, I don’t that much care for Fr. Ray Kelly, though I guess lots of folks do.

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