Tag Archives: Christmas

“Wolcum Yole”: A Carol for the Seasons of Christmas and Epiphany

On this, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, I thought you might enjoy the carol “Welcome Yole!” It is one of the few that mentions the Twelve Days of Christmas and its Feast Days specifically. The text is relatively simple enjoining us to celebrate Christmas, its Feast Days, and the New Year together. The most well-known setting is the… Read More »

“Silent Night” – A New Metrical Translation of All Six Stanzas for Both the Original and the Modern Melodies

A new metrical translation of all six stanzas of “Silent Night” in their original order that can be sung to either the original melody or the melody commonly sung today. The translation better reflects the meaning of the original text, but also has the exact same meter in each stanza so that it can be sung easily to both melodies.

Christmas and the Spectacular Music of Michael Praetorius

In 1994 Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort released an absolutely stunning recording of sacred music. In the previous years they had released three recordings: These recordings created quite a stir among musical circles with their magnificent music, exciting and immaculate performances, and their new approach to presenting early music: placing it within its original context rather than… Read More »

Handel’s “Messiah” for Children

A Blessed Easter to all of you! Children love picture books. Now it is possible to introduce children to Handel’s Messiah, one of sacred music’s most beloved and frequently performed works. In so doing, you will not only introduce them to a great piece of music, but also teach them the Biblical story of salvation (see my previous… Read More »

A Christmas with Paul Gerhardt in 1659

I pray that you enjoyed a Merry Christmas, even in these difficult and strange times, and were blessed by a lot of sacred music. I came across a story about the 1659 Christmas Day service at the Nikolaikirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Berlin, Germany that I thought I would share. One of the pastors at the church… Read More »

Praise and Honor: Hymn-Inspired Devotions

Those of you familiar with this blog know that it offers reflections and insights into sacred music and Christian hymns. This week I would like to share with you a new book that does the same. The author is Timothy Shoup, a parish pastor from Bonduel, Wisconsin and a former classmate of mine. With his book Praise and… 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… 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… Read More »

Thoughts on “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”

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. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. For additional devotions, click here. Although many of our most popular Christmas carols are only a few hundred years old, the Christmas carol… 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… Read More »