This weekend, I had the pleasure of joining my church in the singing of John Stainer’s “The Crucifixion” for our Good Friday service. I had never heard of this composer or work before the choir started working on it, and now I have come to hear of its rather swiss cheese reputation. It’s nice, but it’s gotta lot of gaping holes in it.
Apparently the composer came to to despise the work, and many have decried it as not worth performing. However, this work is apparently often performed, and always has been. What do you think of it? Have you ever even heard of it? What do you like/dislike about it? Is it worth performing?
There were definitely moments in it I really enjoyed. The choruses “Fling Wide the Gates” & “Is It Nothing To You?” (“Processional to Calvary” & “The Appeal of the Crucified,” respectively) were personal highlights, as well those of a dear friend of mine. I’m not sure I’ve absorbed it enough to really get a feel for the whole, but I can certainly understand an initial dislike, which I experienced. But maybe it will grow on me.
Nathan Hathaway Adams