Friday, November 02, 2012

Fear No More - A Song for All Souls

Today is the Feast of All Souls, the day in which we are asked to remember all those who have passed before us - those we love and care for, those known to us and perhaps more especially those unknown.

I have mentioned, perhaps on more than one occasion, the wonderful tradition that our friend Y. C. Pan started when we lived in Poland. On the Feast of All Souls we would go to Powązki Military Cemetery to light candles on the graves of Canadian soldiers buried there. Y. C. noticed that there were many graves without candles - in all probability people who had been involved in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Most of the graves were exhumed between 1945 and 1953 from the streets of Warsaw. In many cases, the names of the soldiers remain unknown, and the graves are marked only by the Polish Red Cross identification number. So each year at Y. C.'s suggestion we would buy extra candles and put them on graves of those unknown to us and in so many cases unknown by name to the world.

Though  I can no longer make that pilgrimage to Powązki to light those candles, today I offer this  setting of one of the most beautiful poems in the English language.  I have quoted this song from Cymbeline on one previously occasion - to the best of my knowledge no setting from its first performance exists but this lovely 20th century setting of "Fear No More" is by Gerald Finzi.   Though normally sung with a piano accompaniment I found this orchestral version with Michael George particularly moving.

Today I remember those I loved and cared for, those I have known and all those unknown:  May the souls of all the faithful rest in peace.

02 November - 1936: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is established.

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