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A Hymn to Heal Our Nation - "Agnus Dei" by Samuel Barber

For one of my earliest posts, I chose two of Sam Barber’s songs, “Desire for Hermitage” and “Solitary Hotel,” which seemed to mirror our first weeks in our stay-at-home phase. As an introduction to Barber’s songs, I wrote this: “Barber Is probably most famous for his Adagio for Strings for string orchestra. It was originally the slow movement from his string quartet, but he adapted it for a full string orchestra in 1938. Since that time it has been a staple in the orchestral concert repertoire, has found its way into movies, and most recently became America’s official memorial anthem after the 2001 attacks.”

Today I share it in a different form: vocal. Instead of a string quartet, or a string orchestra, a choir. Somehow it seemed more appropriate to use this version - the human voice expresses our cries of pain a bit more powerfully.

The text comes from a part of the Catholic mass. From Wikipedia: “The Agnus Dei, like the Credo, was one of the last things to be added to the Mass Ordinary. The fifth item in the Mass, Agnus Dei comes from John 1:29 and is often used during communion. Along with the Kyrie, Credo, Gloria, and Sanctus, this chant remains an integral part of the church service.”

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.

If you’re reading this, you can breathe. Thank your God for that, and thank Him for the opportunity to use your life to make others’ lives better.

“Agnus Dei" by Samuel Barber (adapted from his “Adagio for Strings.”) Performed by The Choir of New College, Oxford. Director, Edward Higginbottom.

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