Music Notes - Credo

Credo.  In Latin it means, believe, and is commonly used to mean a statement of belief.  The Credo is also the central (third of five) movement of the Latin Mass and in that form is what we know as the Nicene Creed.  We say the creed, in English, every Sunday and while it is a very powerful part of the Eucharist Service, it can’t compare to singing it in Latin.    

First there is the language.  Here is an excerpt in both English and Latin so you can decide for yourself.  

God from God  
Light from Light  
True God from true God  

Deum de Deo
Lumen de Lumine
Deum verum de Deo vero

Now really, which is the more inspiring, or even just fun to say.  Add to this the emotion that music can bring to words and you have the perfect anthem for the day of the Bishop’s visit and Confirmation.  

For this occasion, on Sunday, June 17, we sang the version of the Credo from the Mass in G by Franz Schubert which he composed in less than a week during 1815 when he was just 18 years old.  The musical scholar can find examples of inexperience in this work but they are far outweighed by Schubert’s youthful romanticism which is both beautiful and expressive but also innocent and light.  It is earnest in a way that later, dark and heavy romanticism could only reminisce about.  The defining characteristic of Schubert’s Credo is the juxtaposition of smooth drawn out vocal lines over a staccato walking bass line which never stops through the entire piece.  Together it creates the sense of a relentless pilgrimage, a journey towards an unwavering faith. It is a journey that our confirmands are just beginning and which we hope will be relentless and unwavering.  And for the times when it is not?  That is why we all recite the creed together, each and every Sunday, at the sacred hour, on the sacred day, in this sacred space.