My dog "Crux" (aka "Phoebe-Girl) is an intrepid and fearless trail runner. She matches me mile-for-mile over terrain smooth and rough. And as will happen, we often come across downed trees and limbs in our path. Here I often pause to watch her sometimes graceful hurdle; the moment of liftoff, the climb, and the thrilling moment of suspension, neither going up or down. Like in springboard diving when the diver reaches the apex of ascent, hanging weightless for a moment before surrendering to gravity, or when a skier unweights from a power turn and lifts onto the opposite edge and for a moment floats in zero G.
There are moments in certain choral works that are the vocal equivalent of zero G. In Lauridsen's O' Magnum Mysterium, the altos have it on the second "Virgo" Such vibrating, rubbing intensity with all the other voice parts, there is the "Crux" of that short but incredible sonic journey!
So where is the "horcrux"* in Ola Gjeilo's Sunrise Mass? You will find it in measure 129 into measure 130. As the chorus sings "Et as cen..." The sopranos, the altos and the tenors all either remain on the same not or move a half step each to resolve to what this non-music-major-sightreading-challenged-singer will call a C major chord. But the basses move to an F major framework. This in itself is beautiful, but the "crux", the "horcrux" of the entire work is in the baritone line!!! They--of all the voices-- they move 1 1/2 steps from a G# to a F natural. Oh Baby! This writer cannot convey to you how exciting it is to move that step and a half! When done cleanly, it becomes an out of body experience, one is suspended midair over the tree trunk, soaring in a weightless instant above the pool, floating god-like into the next hard turn!
Music gives us paradoxical moments that are finite yet timeless, little sonic horcruxes that we may only get to sing a few times perfectly, yet they will live on somewhere inside us forever!
*From "Harry Potter", "an object in which a wizard has concealed a part of their soul through magic, rendering them immortal until the object is irreparably damaged or destroyed". Alas, all good chords, even chords that hold whole souls, must end. Which makes one think of the Moody Blues and that landmark album "In Search of the Lost Chord".