Tag Archives: Faith

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 »

The Connection Between All Saints’ Day and the Reformation

This past Sunday, October 25th, Lutheran Christians celebrated the 498th anniversary of the Festival of the Reformation. However, the actual feast day is today, October 31st. Tomorrow, November 1st, we will celebrate All Saints’ Day. So if these two festivals are on consecutive days, are they connected in any way? The connections are quite interesting and valuable to consider. Let me explain. Frederick the Wise (1463-1525), the ruler of Saxony during the time… Read More »

Thoughts on “Hope of the World”

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 “Hope of the World,” the Hymn of the Day for the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24B) on Sunday, October 18, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. “Hope” is an optimistic word… Read More »

“Soli Deo Gloria” – The Fifth Sola

Earlier this month we were able to personally thank over 60 of the musicians, volunteers, and supporters of the Peoria Bach Festival at our annual Peoria Bach Festival Appreciation Party. This blog is dedicated to them and all those who make the Peoria Bach Festival possible. As you may know, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) concluded all of his sacred compositions and many of his secular works with the phrase “Soli Deo… Read More »

The Paradoxes of “This Little Babe”

Many of you may be familiar with the great choral work “This Little Babe” from Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. The driving rhythm, the compelling tune with its unique canonic treatment, and the dramatic shift at the very end from a minor key to its parallel major all make for a memorable and powerful setting of the text (click here for a video). The text explores the paradoxes that came with the birth of Christ, with God becoming… Read More »

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 »