I0: Psalm 90 – “Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge” (Vaughan Williams)

As we leave one year and enter a new one, it is a good time to pray and meditate upon Psalm 90, that wonderful Psalm of Moses that considers the timeless nature of our God. Below you will find a link to “Lord, Thou Has Been Our Refuge,” a setting of Psalm 90 by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). In this setting Vaughan Williams combines an original setting of Psalm 90… Read More »

Thoughts on “Silent Night”

Did you know that the beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night” originally had six stanzas and not three? We know this from an original manuscript submitted by the composer Franz Gruber (1787-1863) when an official investigation was held in 1854 on the origins of the carol. Other autographs have been discovered over the years, the most recent being by the author of the text, Father Joseph Mohr (1792-1848). When comparing the English translation… Read More »

I5: Psalm 95 – “O Come, Let Us Sing Unto the Lord” (Handel)

Psalm 95 is an exhortation to sing and praise God for all He is and all that He does. Here is a setting of selected verses of this psalm by Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759). The text is below the recording link or can be downloaded by clicking here. Find 30 minutes today to relax, listen to this psalm, and meditate on all that God has done for you, especially by redeeming… Read More »

L1: Psalm 121 – “I Will Lift up Mine Eyes” (Walford Davies)

Having grown up in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, Psalm 121 has always been a favorite: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.” We were literally surrounded by mountains. In the distance on either end of the valley the mountains cascaded over each other in infinite shades of blue and green. As we looked southeast towards Mt. Hagen, we could see the rugged mountain range over which the… Read More »

C2: Psalm 32 – “You Are a Hiding Place for Me” (Wadsworth)

Psalm 32 is the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. This intense setting by American composer Zachary Wadsworth (b. 1983) alternates the English text with the Latin. It begins with verse 3 which relates to us the consequences of remaining silent and keeping our sins to ourselves. While I held my tongue, my bones withered away because of my groaning all day long. (Psalm 32:3) Wadsworth then alternates setting the… Read More »

E1: Psalm 51 – “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God” (Handel)

Psalm 51, the appointed psalm for Ash Wednesday, is arguably one of the most significant for Christians in that it provides for us an example of deep and heartfelt repentance. The story involves a king who after having an adulterous affair and getting a woman pregnant, gets wrapped up in an elaborate cover-up that leads to deceit, treachery, murder, and despair. The full story is told in 2 Samuel 11-12.… Read More »

Celebrate Christmas with the Peoria Bach Festival

Celebrate Christmas this year by watching the Peoria Bach Festival 2012 performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. You can find it on the Peoria Bach Festival YouTube page by clicking here or following the video links below. Although the performance is in German, English subtitles are provided making the story easy to understand and follow. The translation is a literal one so that the original meaning of the German is as accurate… Read More »

The Angelic Choir

The shepherds were “sore afraid,” which means they were completely and totally terrified fearing for their very lives. Here they were half-asleep watching sheep (some of which would eventually be slaughtered in Passover celebrations and temple sacrifices) and an angel of the Lord appeared to them with “news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a… Read More »

Peoria Bach Festival 2016

Join us from June 5-12, 2016 for the fourteenth annual Peoria Bach Festival. This year’s festival will feature eight concerts and six other events including a free lunch lecture and an event for children. For a complete schedule and details, please call (309) 676-4609 or visit www.peoriabachfestival.org. The first concert on Sunday, June 5 will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1420 West Moss Avenue and feature organist James Kibbie (see www.agopeoria.org).… Read More »

Fanfare, Fugue, and Chorale on CRUCIFER (Brass Choir)

The best sacred music is not “background” music, but rather music that proclaims the eternal truths of Scripture whether it is a simple song or one in which the message is written into the music. The hymn “Lift High the Cross” (CRUCIFER) has become an iconic one for many Christians because it highlights the centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus to the faith. Martin Luther speaks powerfully to this dogma in his Theology… Read More »