I had to look up this morning what a Motet is.

Vlad Smishkewych played one of the most magnificent motets on his RTÉ Lyrics FM radio programme this morning, sending with it his best wishes to Pádraig and pointing to the amazing fundraiser Raphael is running (walking:) for Pádraig from the beginning of the month to the 29th, the day both share as their birthday – just 35 years apart. (Listen back to Vlad’s greetings here.)


Check out the details of Raphael’s fundraiser on iDonate.

The motet Vlad played this morning, Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, is considered, according to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, “a tour de force of Renaissance polyphony that is unsurpassed in the English repertoire. It probably dates from the late 1560s to the early 1570s.” There are several versions of it on YouTube, one being the version Vlad played this morning by the Tallis Scholars, another the recording of a live concert by Harry Christophers, which has the advantage of showing how the 40 singers, divided into 8 choirs are standing in a semi-circle when singing this unbelievable piece of sacred music.

That music transported us away into a different world, as very few, if any, other could do. I suspect that was it was written for that purpose. And how it achieves its aim. Even when you’re listening to it a few hundred years later and not in a Renaissance Cathedral. What a way to start a Sunday.

Yesterday, Pádraig went to the funeral of his grand aunt who died at the age of 93 – and no, not of COVID-19. The funeral though was all about that virus. There were only 10 people allowed in the church and even at the cemetery. There were no hugs and no handshakes. There was no get-together, neither before nor after the funeral, to share the grief and to share the happy and funny and sad stories of her long life. Terry was the last person of the generation of our parents. She went with all of us on a tour of the American SouthWest, in a 14-seater bus, from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and Hollywood. Even on a day trip into Mexico/Nogales. She was the oldest in the group but always the first to explore. With great panache and unstoppable energy. We will miss her physical presence, but her adventurous spirit will always stay with us.

For Pádraig to be there yesterday was important, for him and for Terry and for all the family.

In happier news: Pádraig’s video calls with his friends continue.

It’s so inspiring to see him having fun participating, remotely, in the banter, the craig, and the news of his friends. Being with them in person would, of course, be even more fun. But this is a pretty close second. Wouldn’t you agree?