Tag Archives: Lent

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 blogs Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological and Text Study –… Read More »

O Come, Let Us Sing Unto the Lord” (Psalm 95) – Handel

The Chandos Anthems by Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759) are among the hidden gems of sacred music. Here is a setting of selected verses of Psalm 95. Psalm 95 is an exhortation to sing and praise God for all He is and all that He does. For this work Handel uses five verses from Psalm 95 and adds to them selected verses of similar sentiment from other psalms. The verses used… Read More »

Beati quorum remissae (Psalm 32) – Wadsworth

“Beati quorum remissae” by American composer Zachary Wadsworth (b. 1983) is a setting of portions of Psalm 32, the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. This intense setting alternates the English text with the Latin. It begins with verse 3 which relates to us the consequences of remaining silent and keeping our sins to ourselves. While I held my tongue, my bones withered awaybecause of my groaning all day long.… Read More »

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God” (Psalm 51) – Handel

The importance of Psalm 51 in Christian music and faith cannot be underestimated. It is significant in that it provides for us an example of deep and heartfelt repentance which is at the heart of our faith. The story involves a king who after having an adulterous affair and getting a woman pregnant, gets wrapped up in an elaborate cover-up that leads to deceit, treachery, murder, and despair. The full… Read More »

Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological

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 Christ’s divinity, in reaction to the increasing popularity of rationalised atheism.” In July 1741, Jennens wrote to his friend Edward Holdsworth: Handel says he will do… Read More »

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 »

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 »