Easter Sunday should be peopled with Alleluias, and while this setting my the American 20th century composer Randall Thompson fulfils that wish, it is not the shouted Alleluia that many would expect. Rather, Thompson’s piece builds slowly and reverently towards a celebratory climax, but one that is more reverent and contemplative in nature.
Randall Thompson – Alleluia
Vierne – Finale from Symphony No 1 (organ)
Often played as an organ voluntary on festal occasions Vierne’s great Finale is a showpiece, but one that captures the declamatory celebration of Easter morning, where death has lost its sting, and the grave its victory.
Handel – Messiah (part 3) – 30mins
My choice of a longer work for today is part 3 of Handel’s Messiah. Which begins with the soprano aria ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’, and includes the mystery and the sounding of the trumpet. It ends with the great chorus ‘Worthy is the lamb that was slain’:
Blessing and honour, glory and power be unto him
That sitteth upon the throne and unto the lamb
for ever and ever. Amen.