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The Life of Jesus: A Meditation In Sound

Suzanne Toolan, RSM

Makes inspiring listening and an excellent background for prayer and meditation throughout the year.

In the tradition of the many artists who have depicted Jesus in sculpture, painting and song, Mercy Sister Suzanne Toolan has created a reverent new musical portrait of Our Lord and the holy family. Opening with a dramatic representation of the Annunciation, her piano improvisations paint colorful, vivid scenes from Jesus' boyhood, youth and public ministry.

While most scenes are drawn directly from the Gospels, the music also covers some events not mentioned there, such as "The Wedding of Mary and Joseph." Her meditation on that festive occasion is a dance piece with sweeping rhythms and harmonic minor chords and melodies evocative of Jewish folk songs. One can truly imagine our Lord's mother and foster father celebrating to joyful music like this!

The music for "Joseph's Misunderstanding" depicts his restlessness and uncertainty perfectly, then ends with the resolution and peace that come after the angel's reassurance. "Jesus, the Little Boy" is playful and light, its quick movements mimicking the nimble feet and busy hands of an active, fun-loving boy. After the dissonant, stirring meditation on the crucifixion, The Life of Jesus closes with the slow-building joy, awe and exuberant major chords of "The Resurrection."

The recording features Sister Toolan-well known for her classic song "I Am the Bread of Life"-on the piano, with Mercy Sister Marguerite Buchanan reading short introductions to each piece. The fruit of creative genius and a lifetime spent in devout reflection on the Gospels, The Life of Jesus makes inspiring listening and an excellent background for prayer and meditation throughout the year.