Beauty in Dark Times

There is a very interesting set of upcoming events for those living in the Indianapolis area, focusing on the music of Arvo Pärt. On February 4th at 7pm, at St. George’s Orthodox Church in Fishers, Indiana, there will be performances of Pärt’s music, one choreographed with a dance performance by students from the Indianapolis School [Read More...]

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The Music of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’m not sure whether it has always been true that the music in Star Wars is something that I notice only on a second viewing, or after hearing the soundtrack separately, or whether J. J. Abrams has the music feature less prominently than George Lucas did at key moments. But there is some truly wonderful [Read More...]

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A Spaceman Came Traveling

A newer rendition of the classic sci-fi Christmas song by Chris DeBurgh, “A Spaceman Came Traveling,” here performed by Celtic Women. This performance was drawn to my attention via the new book from Rowman and Littlefield, The Bible in Music: A Dictionary of Songs, Works, and More. [Read more...]

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References in “50 Ways to Forge a Gospel”

At some point I’ll post a listener’s guide, if necessary, to the song “50 Ways to Forge a Gospel,” which I shared here recently, the YouTube video of which I’ve embedded above. It is full of references to specific forgeries, pseudepigraphies, novels, and other kinds of Jesus literature both ancient and modern, both canonical and [Read More...]

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Music From the Sorrowing Earth of Qumran

Jim Davila mentioned this piece, “From Sorrowing Earth” by Nigel Butterley, on his blog recently, indicating that the composer was inspired to write another piece, “In the Head the Fire,” by the War Scroll from Qumran. I have not tracked down a recording of the latter piece – if anyone can point me in the [Read More...]

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Ghazaros (“Lazar”) Saryan – Passacaglia in Memoriam

I heard this work by Armenian composer Ghazaros (Lazar) Saryan on Performance Today yesterday, and it made an impression. I found it on YouTube and thought I would share it. [Read more...]

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Star Wars Soundtrack Spoilers

Remember how we found out things we might not have wanted to if we looked at the titles of the tracks on the soundtrack to The Phantom Menace, when it was released prior to the movie? Well, it looks like the same thing is happening again with the soundtrack to The Force Awakens. Take a [Read More...]

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Rock Prayers

I’ve floated the idea of doing a service of rock and roll prayers at my church. Here are the songs that I think would work for it. Can you suggest others? U2, “40″ Peter Gabriel, “In Your Eyes” Mr. Mister, “Kyrie” Styx, “Show Me The Way” Foreigner, “I Want to Know What Love Is” Mike [Read More...]

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Reading is like Making Music

“Reading is not like listening to music, but rather like making music. The reader himself is the instrument.” – Martin Walser The quote in the original German is “Lesen ist nicht etwas wie Musikhören, sondern wie Musizieren. Das Instrument ist man selbst.” It comes from his book Des Lesers Selbstverständnis, p.12, and I found it quoted in [Read More...]

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The Swahili of Baba Yetu

Gamers have been fascinated by the lyrics to Baba Yetu, Christopher Tin’s award-winning music for the video game Civilization IV, for more than a decade. When the song was first released, there were attempts to transcribe and translate the lyrics, with some comical results – such as where someone thought the lyrics at one point [Read More...]

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Michael Card on the Gospel of John

I am grateful to IVP for sending me review copies of Michael Card’s most recent book, John: The Gospel of Wisdom, as well as his latest CD, John: A Misunderstood Messiah. Were it not for Michael Card and his music, my life would quite likely have been very different. I ended up studying theology because [Read More...]

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