Press Play: “Do Not Reject Me In My Old Age” by Pavel Chesnokov

Listening to this wonderful, dark piece, with its basso profondo and all-male chorus, I can’t help but imagine it being sung by a choir of James Earl Clones. The notes they hit in this one are ridiculous; the type of notes I’m only able to hit in the first 5 minutes after waking up.

But it’s not just the low notes that make it a wonderful piece. There’s a touching vulnerability in the lyrics, taken from psalm 71: Do not reject me in my old age. Do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

Key moment: Any moment when the deep basses go down to the basement will do, but they go especially low at 6:35.

That makes me think of: The combination of low voices and the implied fear of aging remind me of Johnny Cash’s great cover of “Hurt”.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Ave Verum” by Imant Raminsh

I’m from Canada, and here in Canada we have a proud tradition of claiming any famous person who has ever lived in Canada as one of our own. So even though he was born in Scotland and did most of his inventing in the US, we consider Alexander Graham Bell a Canadian. Basketball superstar Steve Nash was born in South Africa and has spent his entire adult life in the US, but we all know he’s Canadian. Actor Kiefer Sutherland? Canadian. Boxer Lennox Lewis? Canadian.

You get the point. Anyway, Canada is a nation of immigrants, so we’re proud to bask in the reflected glory of the people we import. Especially composer Imant Raminsh, born in Latvia, but proudly claimed as Canadian by music nerds like me.

Key moment: Listen to the chord changes from 1:25 to 1:35. Were you expecting that? Nope. You weren’t.

That makes me think of: “Awake Soon” by Sarah Slean. Although she’s known as a pop singer-songwriter, Sarah Slean’s choral background often comes through in her music. And hey, she was born, raised, and still lives in Canada. So there.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Wash Me Throughly” by Samuel Wesley

Have you ever been in bed, sick, craving a shower but without the energy to get up and actually get there? Have you ever wished that you could hook up the showerhead to the top of your skull and let the water rush through your insides and wash the sickness away? This is a good piece for times like that. The choral version of a nice warm bowl of chicken soup.

Key moment: At 3:16, the choir creeps up towards a dramatic chord on the line, “and forgive me all my sin”. It’s a very satisfying moment, like when you slowly turn up the hot water in the shower, and finally the water responds.

That makes me think of: another great cleansing song, filled with references to washing, bathing, and cleaning; “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab for Cutie.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Ubi Caritas” by Maurice Durufle

Considering that Maurice Durufle’s life was 240% as long as Mozart’s, Durufle didn’t leave behind many compositions. The internet tells me this is a result of his perfectionism. Apparently, Durufle was intensely self-critical, constantly editing his work, sometimes years after publishing it. And while part of me wants to go back in time and tell him to relax a little, if the result of perfectionism is a piece like this one, it’s hard to argue with his approach.

Key moment: The basses’ low E at 1:37.

That makes me think of: Like Durufle, Portishead are perfectionists, taking plenty of time between releases (3 albums in 20 years). “Ubi Caritas” reminds me a bit of Portishead’s “It’s A Fire”, with its peaceful, soothing, reverent atmosphere.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”