The Six Days Of Creation

Following on from Professor McAuley’s poetry and hymn-writing, below is a performance of McAuley’s The Six Days of Creation. The performance could well be called a “Catholicfest”, as the author, the composer and the soloist are (or were) all Australian Catholics.

Professor McAuley wrote the poem in 1963 while Professor of English Poetry at the University of Tasmania. It has been called “a celebration of Christian materialism”. More on the life of James McAuley can be found here.

The composer, George Palmer QC, besides being a composer is also a retired justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He was commissioned to write the Mass Benedictus Qui Venit for the closing Mass offered by Pope Benedict at the Sydney World Youth Day in 2008 at Royal Randwick.

Amelia Farrugia, our soloist, was also one of the two soloists at that Papal Mass. I hear she does a very mean Merry Widow as well.

Below is a recording of the “Sixth Day”, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was the day God created the beasts and man. Performances of the other five days can be found here.

Professor McAuley’s complete poem can be found here.

About GC

Poor sinner.
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16 Responses to The Six Days Of Creation

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    “Like Sun and Rain I Am Poured Forth”.

    It is the Lord who speaks?

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  2. Brother Burrito says:

    On repeated listening, this music is giving me increasing shivers of the spine.

    I am humming it too-always a sign that I have heard something good.

    Thanks GC. More please!

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  3. GC says:

    “It is the Lord who speaks?”

    Good question, Brother Burrito. I am still thinking about the words. It could be God talking to his living creatures about the world He has just created for them, telling them that “Our world is Bliss”. For a while I was working on the idea that it was Adam speaking to his missus, but I like your idea better, as I don’t think his missus had been thought of yet on the sixth day. She was an “afterthought”?

    Perhaps other readers have their ideas? It’s a bit of a “hard poem”, isn’t it, despite its simple diction.

    Brother B, here’s the Kyrie from Mass Benedictus Qui Venit, also by George Palmer. Amelia Farrugia is one of the soloists singing in the presence of Pope Benedict at Royal Randwick, Sydney in 2008.

    I wonder whether you can tell if Pope Benedict likes the music? Perhaps he prefers his Mozart?

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  4. GC says:

    Oops, it’s the “Kyrie” from George Palmer’s Mass.

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  5. GC says:

    Your question, Brother B, has really helped me work out this “pome” a lot better.

    I now think that it is the Word of God (the Son) and the Holy Spirit of God that are meant to be speaking, almost without distinction between them.

    God’s Word, by whom the world was created (“And God said, let there be . . .”), says that His “flesh”, His substance, is now divided as a result of the act of creation. Created life and matter is now separate from God the Son, but are still united in all that they “are and do”. How could it be otherwise? How can the creature be really separated from its creator? Thus He is “the firmament” and we are “the earth” and His name and that of the created world together “is bliss”. It cannot die. How could anything the Word of God created, and to Whom it is profoundly united to, die?

    God is then “poured forth” into this world just as “sun and rain” are. Sun and rain sustain earthly life materially. The Holy Spirit says He is like them. He shines and gushes forth and sustains earthly life as much and as really as they do.

    How’s that? Please don’t send the men in white hospital outfits quite yet, Brother B.

    It would be good to hear others’ views on the “pome”, though CP&Sers are mostly a taciturn lot, as Mr Gargantua sadly observed.

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  6. Brother Burrito says:

    GC, your analysis makes perfect sense to me. Also of note is that the sixth day is set before the Fall.

    I am in far greater need than you for the nice young men in their clean white coats 😉

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  7. GC says:

    Indeed, Brother Burrito, and so much for “bliss” after that. We know it was there and are trying to find it again. Toad has particular views on this, alas, and thinks we had no right to lose it.

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  8. GC says:

    And I find I agree with you about the music, Burrito. It has scatty, lyrical and, finally, solemnly happy, moods in it and our Amelia is marvellous.

    JH will be pleased to know that she is admired for her coloratura and bel canto.

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  9. toadspittle says:

    “We know (bliss) was there…”

    I’m inclined to doubt that, GC. Which will come as no surprise.
    I don’t think we ever lost what you would possibly call our innocence – and I would call our sanity.
    It is my suspicion that we never had it.
    What we – religion, the bible, whatever – are trying to do is looking backwards and then trying to cobble together a cogent reason for the shambolic mess we have found the world in since Day One (or possibly Day Seven.)
    And it doesn’t work.
    Was there ever a “blissful” world, with no death or pain in it?
    No earthquakes, leprosy, Mel Gibson Movies?
    Matter of opinion, of course.

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  10. GC says:

    And yet your comment seems to imply that there is an innocence and sanity that we should have but don’t.

    If there is not, why try to aim towards gaining it or rue its absence? Why prefer your furry or feathery courtyard creatures?

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  11. toadspittle says:

    That is a very good point indeed, GC.
    …And I will give it considerable thought before replying more fully.
    But it is clearly true.
    Although I will say this now: We can all see, and agree – that the world is full of unsatisfactory circumstances.
    Some are beyond our control – like earthquakes and many diseases.
    Some we could fix if we were not all mad and selfish and greedy – like starvation, and war and nationalism.
    And driving cars. And watching TV.

    And all without recourse to any god.
    So it is natural to yearn for the good things that we can plainly see, but are no able to attain.

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  12. toadspittle says:

    Having duly brooded on your excellent comment, GC I will add a couple of other notions:

    1: I must slightly moderate my suggestion that the human race is ALL mad.
    Or we would have no conception of madness, and we nearly all do have one, for what that’s worth. But it doesn’t stop us doing mad things, not for a moment.
    A tiny handful, such as Socrates and Christ and Gandhi, were clearly sane.
    They pointed us in the right direction.
    We killed them all.

    2: There is no indication that there was ever a time when life on earth existed without a chain of killing, the way it does now. We (all life forms) live off parasitically off one another.
    Always have. Dinosaurs dined on dinosaurs. There can never have been another way.

    There never was Paradise, Eden, a “Peaceable Kingdom,” in reality.
    And there never will be.

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  13. toadspittle says:

    (Toad, the bolding buffoon, craves a moderator’s healing touch.)

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  14. GC says:

    There never was Paradise, Eden, a “Peaceable Kingdom,” in reality.
    And there never will be.

    Well then, Toad, we expect that you will take down rebrites’ signboard forthwith.

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  15. toadspittle says:

    That is Our name.
    And it is true, just as long as we keep the greyhounds from getting at the cats.

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  16. GC says:

    So it really does exist somehow somewhere, Toad?

    If you marketed tour packages and appointed a business manager, just watch the rest of the province of Palencia flourish. There’s something terribly compelling (even deeply true almost?), about the whole concept.

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