Knowing my love for “O Pure Virgin,” my friend Andrew sent me several links to the hymn in various languages. It is lovely to hear the inspired song by Saint Nectarius in so many tongues.
My favorite version that he sent is the Romanian—“Fecioară Curată”; the choir is magnificent.
These Romanian men do justice to the hymn. I imagine that eternity sounds a little bit like their music. I often think such about works that elevate the soul.
As a related tangent, I wish to encourage you to read Tolkien’s Ainulindalë from The Silmarillion. For it is about eternity expressed in music. In Tolkien’s myth, the world’s creation happens through musical composition. As the cosmos is the expression of that which is beyond being, it seems as though Tolkien understood how fitting an image harmony is as a reflection—or echo—of the eternal and divine.
What a beautiful man; his mind’s eye beheld the world well. May his memory be eternal!
Getting back to our hymn, Andrew was particularly impressed by the Korean version. I do not know much about East Asian music, but I can tell that traditional Oriental music, as in language, differs considerably from that west of the rising sun. Even so, setting the hymn to Korean seems to work well. The video features pictures of a Korean liturgy, which is itself rather interesting.
Below are the other versions that Andrew sent:
It is funny how unfamiliar translations often bother me. The choir sings “bride unwedded,” while I am used to “unwedded bride.” It just sounds wrong.
Which do you find the most beautiful?