Observe Good Friday with the Peoria Bach Festival

Observe Good Friday this year by watching the Peoria Bach Festival 2010 performance of the St. Matthew Passion. You can find it on the Peoria Bach Festival YouTube page by clicking here or following the link 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… Read More »

Instruments in the Bible – Bells

It turns out that we have two bell concerts on the Trinity Concert Series this year (www.trinityconcertseries.org). Just this past weekend we welcomed handbell soloist Kristine Stout (www.joybelltheater.com) to our church and on May 17, Dr. John Behnke will bring the Alleluia Ringers from Concordia University, Wisconsin for a concert. Bells are mentioned only seven times in Scriptures and only in one context. However, it is obvious from the context… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair,” the Hymn of the Day for the Transfiguration of Our Lord on Sunday, February 15, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. The four Gospels reveal how important Moses and Elijah were to Jesus. Altogether the Gospel writers… Read More »

The Sound of Rejoicing . . . Could Be Heard Far Away

Stuck in the recesses of the Old Testament is a story that every musician should know. It comes from the book of Nehemiah, which might seem an unlikely place for a musician to venture. In Nehemiah 12, however, there is a highly descriptive account of the role that musicians played in the dedication walls of Jerusalem after they were finally rebuilt following the Babylonian Exile. It involves many musicians with many trumpets… Read More »

Thoughts on “Son of God, Eternal Savior”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “Son of God, Eternal Savior,” the Hymn of the Day for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany on Sunday, February 1, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. Since the beginning of His ministry, although the… Read More »

A New Metrical Translation of “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn”

In a previous post I offered a literal translation of all seven stanzas of the German Advent/Christmas Carol “Maria Walked Amid the Thorn” (see www.jubalslyre.com/thoughts-on-maria-walks-amid-the-thorn). With this post I offer a new metrical translation of the carol. Interestingly, singing the full version makes the carol a song that can be sung at other points of the Church Year, including today, the Baptism of Our Lord. I had the privilege this morning of… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright”

For the Twelfth and last Day of Christmas and for the Feast of Epiphany let us examine the “Queen of Chorales,” “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” (“Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”). Composed by the Reverend Philip Nicolai (1556-1608), it is often sung as an Epiphany hymn although it can be sung on other occasions as well. For this post, I simply wish to share two settings of this hymn by… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Rejoice, Ye Christians Loudly”

The tune for the Christmas and New Year hymn “O Rejoice, Ye Christians Loudly” comes from an infectiously joyous motet by Andreas Hammerschmidt (see video below). In his motet he places exclamations of “Alleluia!” before and after the stanzas of the poem by Christian Keimann (1607-62). Bach concluded Cantata 40 for The Second Sunday of Christmas with a stirring setting of Stanza 4 of this chorale (see link at bottom of page). To see the… Read More »

Thoughts on “While By My Sheep”

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, let us look at “While By My Sheep I Watched” (“Als ich bei meinen Schafen wacht’”), another beautiful early German carol of unknown origins. It is characterized by macaronic Refrain that features an echo and concludes with the Latin phrase “Benedicamus Domino!” (“Let us bless the Lord!”). It was published as early as 1615 and then again in 1623 in the Kölner Gesangsbuch (Cologne Hymnbook). Below you… Read More »

Thoughts on “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn”

For the Ninth Day of Christmas, let us look at the wonderful but relatively unknown German Christmas carol “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn” (“Maria durch ein’n Dornwald ging”). It is one that I sang as part of several Christmas programs when I was a child, but have rarely heard since.  The carol was published as an Advent song in Maria von Trapp’s book Around the Year with the Trapp Family (New York: Pantheon Books Inc.,… Read More »