Saturday, April 03, 2021

Blind Willie Johnson: Dark Was the Night

It's a tradition here at Wenatchee The Hatchet to post a link to Blind Willie Johnson's legendary recording of this hymn for Holy Saturday. There are other recordings of this hymn meditating on Christ's entombment but Johnson's performance is justifiably the most famous.

Mahalia Jackson: Dark Was the Night and Cold the Ground on Which My Savior Prayed

In Mahalia Jackson's performance this hymn is more a Maundy Thursday hymn since it refers to Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Having said that, I'm more familiar with the hymn being textually connected to Christ in the tomb because of an even more famous version of the lining hymn.

Paul Hindemith: Mathis der Maler Symphony, Entombment

As longtime readers know I don't tend to blog a lot on Holy Saturday. Instead I link to musical works that are thematically connected to the day.

I am actually a Hindemith fan so for Holy Saturday it's not out of the blue to link to the second movement of his symphonic suite Mathis der Mahler.  Something I also noticed is that at 1:38 the oboe gets a sequence of rising perfect fourths followed by a stepwise descent that sounds an awful lot like the opening fanfare from the Star Trek theme song. 

Hindemith converted to Catholicism late in life after having spent much of his life, as he put it, being a very bad Protestant but a loyal one.