Xerses, HWV 40: Largo

When I was about 12 I listened to Largo from Xerses by Handel arranged for organ and symphony orchestra on vinyl. I have yet to find the recording again as an adult. …But listening to the (vinyl) recording I grew-up with brought one to tears…and reminded one of the magnificence of God.

…But it has to be a an arrangement for orchestra and organ like the one I heard then…and the best ones are often British recordings. The older the better. I didn’t live through it…but the glory of their finest hour is captured in this piece in those recordings…in my opinion. It must have been in their souls waiting…and this piece expressed their awe-inspiring courage, grit, dignity, fortitude and righteous, unabashed humility. It makes me cry when I think of it.

I also knew I wanted to “walk down the aisle” to this song.

Years later…I listen to it and remember myself. I hear my own self in this song. My soul and spirit. Not as a the star but…as a part of the whole in worship of God. As His child. And I don’t think I could probably spend eternity with any man who couldn’t be waiting as I walked down the aisle to this song as much as I could. It might be a requirement that he love it as much as I do.

I don’t want to write about Lacey forever. I really don’t. But I feel the need to analyze her with the clarity of perspective provided by this piece of music.

Joe Jr.: You’d assume this would be golden. But it’s not. It’s tragic.

All the flaws in their union would be magnified times a thousand. Lacey would walk down the aisle brimming with hope for profound happiness but would look up into his eyes and sense anxiety. She’d see his every lie with an ugly clarity she’d never had before… And she’d feel regret but not be sure what she was even regretting.

Joe Sr.: …Perhaps Lacey fell in love with the wrong Joe Kennedy? But no, this song proves otherwise.

J. P. would grasp the absolute grandeur of this Handel classic…but the moment his eyes met Lacey’s he’d see God. And he’d feel convicted. He’d feel so much guilt that he’d almost faint. …And in a very human moment he’d race off to the right, down a dim, cool and slightly damp hallway and then lock himself in a room.

Then he’d open a window, lower himself out of the window, down a wall and once on the ground he’d find a bicycle and take off. At lightening speed. His gorgeous hair…blowing in the wind. Destination: the nearest train station.

You get the idea.

Lem Billings: This one is mystifying.

This song is either too perfect for him and his wedding or it’s hideously tragic. And it’s extremely irritating to try to discern which. Because if the first is true…it speaks to the actual afterlife. And it’s…opaque and overwhelming.

Incidentally…if he was the groom walking down the aisle to meet JFK it’d be quite…telling to watch. He’d walk joyously down the aisle, look up at Jack, meet his gaze and beam a shining, happy smile. And Jack would grin in return. …But then he’d look back down at the ground in order to focus on making it the rest of the way down the aisle. And he’d realize he was marrying Jack…and that Jack is a man… And he’d feel terror. And horror. And so…as if in a dream…he’d turn and run back down the aisle and then race into a car and get away from the church as fast as possible.

…JFK Jr. hates this. He hates this part of the post. It makes him livid. He wants Lem and his father to have been truly, mutually in love… ?? He’s not operating hopefully e rite just without rationality so he can grasp the idea…but it shatters a lot of his ideas from childhood and it’s painful to see.

Harold Loeb: Harold Loeb…refuses to do it. He…would feel like vomiting. …If he was to spend eternity with Lacey they’d really have to work this out. It highlights why they aren’t together.

Louis: …Louis would meet Lacey’s eyes and he’d cry first. Then she’d feel shy.

It’d be perfect for them. Almost. Darn near close…

Peter: This song and the church would appear to be swallowing him alive. He’d try to be a good sport about it. It’s beauty wouldn’t be lost on him. He’d feel all of it. But…it’s not his song for such an occasion. It’s not his particular type of God-given glory.

Michael: This song is perfect for Michael. He’d spend the majority of the song thinking about the Honeymoon. Wish they’d play faster. It’s a song…like a suit…and a church…and a ring… It’s beautiful but not Heaven. Being in God’s presence makes everything better. (Don’t misinterpret that last sentence.)

Elliott: Elliott would be lost in the glorious pomp and circumstance…and would feel genuinely moved by it. He’d think of his father. And his mom. And he’d burst with happiness. And Lacey would follow him happily but be both excited by the adventure awaiting and slightly…worried.

Lacey says:

“Which one do you think is the groom? What do you think? …Should we all let you decide oh all-knowing reader? Do you sense sarcasm in that last sentence? Yes? No? *eye-roll* Well…what do you think? What curses/words would you like to speak over my soul? Want to make me spend eternity with Joey, J. P. or Harold Loeb? Hmm?? …Harold Loeb would be the kindest among those three. Or should “we” let God decide?

…Since it’s my life…I’ll let God decide and there’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t bother. Go ahead and judge…but “don’t bother.””

“Shake that…or hope your brain works better in Heaven.”

“It’ll look prettier there too.” adds Betty White.

You’re welcome.