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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Baba Yetu

I’ve mentioned the song Baba Yetu before. It is music from the game Civilization IV, and the words are the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili. This a capella version by Peter Hollens with Malukah is a nice arrangement. Now that I am diving into learning Swahili, I should probably apply something that has proven helpful with [Read More…]

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Ultimate Concern

I had the privilege of sharing the song I wrote, “Ultimate Concern,” at Crooked Creek Baptist Church today. I am grateful to the musicians who participated in learning the song and performing it with me. The inspiration from the ideas of Paul Tillich will be obvious to those familiar with his writings. Here are the [Read More…]

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Transgender and Christianity: From Andi to Bruce Jenner

The subject of transgender has been in the news a great deal lately, with much attention focusing not only on famous athlete Bruce Jenner (and his ABC News interview), but on young children who have known that their perception of their own gender was different from what they were defined as because of their anatomy. [Read More…]

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80s Rock Music for Worship

I had toyed with some reworked versions of 80s songs for use in church before – “Hosanna” to the tune of Rosanna by Toto, and “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” to the tune of Open Arms by Journey. My pastor left a comment on my wall on Facebook, suggesting that we do a whole service, [Read More…]

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Learn Musical Intervals With John Williams

Singers and other musicians often remember musical intervals by reference to famous examples of them – for instance, many of us, if we need to sing a perfect 4th, think “Here Comes the Bride.” It struck me recently to look into whether one can do this limiting oneself to John Williams’ film scores: Half step (ascending): Jaws [Read More…]

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