Tag Archives: Resurrection

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 »

Thoughts on “O Holy Night”

Of all Christmas carols, “O Holy Night” has one of the most fascinating stories. It is a rather unlikely carol in that the poem was written by an avowed atheist (albeit one well-versed in Christian theology) and the tune composed by a practicing Jew who did not observe Christmas. It was first sung by a Parisian opera singer, but soon after church officials banned the song when it was discovered that the… Read More »

Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological

In anticipation of the 40th Annual Peoria “Sing-It-Yourself” Messiah tomorrow on the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org), I would like to offer these thoughts on the work. Arguably the most popular musical work of all time, Handel’s Messiah sets to beautiful and awe-inspiring music Old and New Testament passages that proclaim the salvation story. According to one scholar,  the librettist Charles Jennens (1700-73) “intended Messiah as a statement of faith in… 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 »

A Lament? At Easter?

One aspect of the Resurrection story that is difficult for many of us to appreciate is the depth of the sorrow and grief that the followers of Jesus must have felt after His crucifixion. No doubt this would have amplified the confusion, disbelief, and ultimately the joy that they experienced upon hearing that He had risen from the dead. There is a section at the beginning of Bach’s Easter Oratorio that… 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 »

New Singers in the Church Triumphant

In these past few weeks we have celebrated the lives of quite a few members at Trinity, including this past weekend the all too short earthly life of Avonlea Warner. Hymns and songs take a whole new meaning in the context of a funeral. I was especially touched by the ones we sang last Saturday: “Father Welcomes All His Children,” “Children of the Heavenly Father,” “All Through the Night,” and “Alleluia!… Read More »

The “Resurrection Chapter”

Most people know about the “Love Chapter” of the Bible, but few people know about the “Resurrection Chapter.” 1 Corinthians 13 is the “Love Chapter,” but only two chapters later you will find what I like to call the “Resurrection Chapter.” Some parts of 1 Corinthians 15 may be familiar to you, especially if you frequently listen to or have sung some of the great choral works of the ages like Handel’s… 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 »

Fanfare on “Christ is Arisen” (SATB w/ Organ, Brass, and Timpani)

Just completed a new piece for Easter: Fanfare on “Christ is Arisen” for mixed choir, brass quartet, timpani, and organ. Hope you find it useful. It begins with a theme that my Associate Pastor said reminded him of Aslan, you know the great and powerful lion from the C. S. Lewis book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe who as a character has many similarities to Christ. That theme serves… Read More »