A Powerful Statement of Faith in Music

Fuga 4 a 5 from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book I  (WTC I) is not only an amazing piece of music, but also a powerful statement by Bach of his personal faith (click here to hear this fugue and see it unfold). One would not expect to find statements of faith in a purely instrumental work such as the WTC I, but for Bach there was virtually no difference… Read More »

Thoughts on “My Song is Love Unknown”

The hymn “My Song is Love Unknown” features a text from the 1600s coupled with a melody composed in the early 1900s by the English composer and church musician John Ireland (1879-1962). This haunting and beautiful melody was apparently composed casually one day over lunch at the suggestion of fellow church musician and composer Geoffrey Shaw (1879-1943). The poet of this hymn, Samuel Crossman (c. 1624-1683), was a pastor who… Read More »

Lent and the Reality of Sacrifice

In this Lenten season, it is good for Christians to realize that our world, including our religious world, is a highly sanitized one, especially when compared to past civilizations. We gather in beautiful churches and finely decorated homes and speak, sing, and pray of sacrifice, but we tend to forget that sacrificial laws of the Old Testament were very real and very bloody. If we were able to observe these sacrifices,… Read More »

The Eternal Song

Contrary to what Bill Nye the Science Guy says, when we die, it’s NOT over. In the Book of Revelation, St. John tells us many times of an Eternal Song that is being sung continually by the Saints and Angels. It is a song of redemption that extends all the way back to Moses: “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the… Read More »

New BBC Documentary on Bach

Just last year BBC broadcast a new documentary on the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach entitled Bach: A Passionate Life. Written and presented by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, one of the greatest and most influential Bach interpreters of this age, it is 90 minutes long and was first broadcast on the Easter weekend of 2013. Besides being an interesting overview of Bach’s life, it also provides some new… Read More »

Sussex Carol (SATB w/ Piano or Harp and Opt. Handbells)

The Sussex Carol was one of the many English folk songs collected for posterity by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958). This arrangement is a relatively easy, but boisterous arrangement for SATB choir with piano or harp and optional handbells. It is published by Walton Music (WW 1243) and available from GIA or your favorite music retailer. For a complimentary review copy, please send us a note via our Contact Us page.… Read More »

Text Study – Handel’s Messiah

Did you know that Handel’s Messiah sets 81 Scripture passages to music? Singing or listening to it is a great way to be immersed into Scripture and the story of salvation. To enter more deeply into this story, click here for a Text Study of Handel’s Messiah. I hope that you find this study as interesting as I did. Some of Handel’s most powerful and inspired settings are for passages from 1… Read More »

Thank You to Trinity’s Musicians and Worship Leaders

I would like to offer a sincere thank you to all those who were involved in last evening’s Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Trinity. From those who prepared the Sanctuary to the Lectors and to all the musicians and thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation that occurred was incredibly strong, wonderfully heartfelt, and truly beautiful. For me there were many, many favorite moments. Besides… Read More »

Thank You to the American Kantorei and Concordia Seminary

A week ago I conducted the American Kantorei in their December 2013 concert (click here for photos). I would like to thank both the choir and the orchestra “aus Herzens Grunde” (“from the bottom of my heart”) for their glorious, incredibly beautiful, and heartfelt proclamation of the Christmas story last Sunday. It was a great thrill and honor to work with them once again. Their music was stunningly beautiful and… Read More »

Choral Music Provides “Epic!” Expressions of the Faith

A few Sundays ago, I had the privilege of singing three settings of the Te Deum – that great text of proclamation, praise, and thanksgiving – with the Bradley Community Chorale accompanied by the Bradley Orchestra. What a great experience and great opportunity to enter deeply into that great text of Christendom and into the minds of three great composers. The settings we sang were by Franz Josef Haydn, Antonín… Read More »