"St Cecilia" encompasses a series of concepts that are incredibly important to me as a writer and as an individual. It speaks of the transcendent nature, the spiritual language of music that reaches beyond what can be seen with our eyes or felt with our hands.
St Cecilia also touches on a concept that has enraptured me: the unspeakable Name of God. In ancient Israel, "YHWH" represented the name of God that was beyond speaking, unknowable. Ephesians 3:19 says that we can "know this love that surpasses knowledge". That idea has always resonated with me, that we can know what is unknowable. We cannot fully quantify God, but we can know Him. We cannot fully define God, but we can experience Him. I think this is the unknowable knowing.
I believe that if God exists, He is the ultimate form of all that is good. He is Love, He is Light, He is Joy. What I centered on for this piece is the idea that He is Beauty. All that is beautiful is a broken form of Him. And so, when we make something beautiful, we are pointing to and experiencing Him.
These ideas came together for me in this... When we make music, music that is truly beautiful, we are speaking His Name. In song, we can speak the Unspeakable Name of God. We can participate in the mystery of His beauty, and actually hear Him sing back to us.
St Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. Christian legend says that as she was martyred, she sang praises to God. She died singing, and heard angels singing with her. I was struck with this, the closeness of the two worlds, joined by song. The piece begins with a plea for her to pray for us, with the hope that we too would experience God and touch heaven through music as she did.
And so, all of these ideas came together and poured out in this piece. I do not claim to have captured the truth of these ideas, only to express my own heart in the midst of experiencing God. This is the power of music, that I felt the response of heaven resonate with me as I wrote it.
This track was recorded live at the premiere of the piece at the Cathedral of Incarnation in Nashville TN, with the Trevecca Symphony and the Trevecca Madrigalian Choir, under the direction of Dr Timothy Cierpke.
Ora pro nobis, Sancta Caecilia. (Pray for us, St Cecilia.)
We shall make music,
and with our song
we shall paint
what we cannot see.
We shall sing
the truth no man can speak.
To know the Unknowable Love
To speak the Unspeakable Name
We shall make music
and like St Cecilia,
who chose to die
with song on her lips
and heard voices yet unheard,
we call heaven and its light
to retune our strings
to bring beauty to our dissonance.
We shall speak the Unspeakable Name.
We shall resonate together,
feeling spirit vibrate in our bones,
feeling ourselves resonate
with higher planes
reaching beyond what's heard,
hearing it sung back to us.
Nashville based harpist/songwriter Timbre has been enchanting audiences across the world with her unique harp-based folk
rock. Though featured playing harp with bands/artists such as Jack White, Ricky Skaggs, mewithoutYou, and the Chariot, her solo music is even more breathtaking. Her ensemble of musicians bring complete stillness to crowded bars and festivals, silencing audiences of thousands....more