A few weeks ago, while scanning through the (frightening number of) drafts I keep in my blog folder, I stumbled across one entitled "Paweł Bębenek." There wasn't even any content, just a (strangely accented) name. And I couldn't remember what it meant. So, I went to Google and started searching and I found this music, which is particularly relevant and comforting today. Turn it up and just listen for a bit, if you can.
Bless the Lord,
Bless all His works,
Which could not have flourished
If not for suffering.
Bless the Lord.
Next, I found this:
And then, I realized/remembered that Paweł Bębenek was the name of a person. The name of a Polish singer, conductor, and composer, listed (I think) by this Polish Wikipedia page as "associated with the music scene at the Krakow monastery of the Dominican Fathers."
I really enjoy this music. So clearly influenced by sacred music from the past, yet just as clearly influenced by the melodic melting pot in which we find ourselves today. There are moments when I hear sacred chant -- both Gregorian and Byzantine -- and moments when I hear movie soundtracks and a far more modern style. There's a way in which that is both unexpected and very much in keeping with the musical environment of my own youth.
That harp in that second piece, for example, is entirely unexpected and untraditional. Yet lovely, without a doubt. And the first phrase of the melody is transcendent. (The second? A bit more open-ended than I was expecting, just to underscore my point. I was expecting something a bit more "old-school" there, apparently. But that barely dampens my enthusiasm for the work. Or for its creator.)
The Old and the New. Sometimes, they blend much more smoothly than you'd expect.