Bach’s “Passion” as online meditation

Bach is among the very greatest of Christian artists, and his “St. Matthew Passion” is considered one of his greatest works.  It is an oratorio, something like an opera, that sets to music Matthew’s account of the crucifixion of Christ (Chapters 26-27), with soloists singing the lines of the various characters and magnificent choral music, all punctuated with Bach’s rendition of Lenten hymns (many of which we still sing today) and remarkable verse by Bach himself responding to Christ’s sacrifice.

My colleague Steve McCollum alerted me to an online resource that makes this masterpiece of musical devotion accessible online:  Oregon Bach Festival » Digital Bach Project » St. Matthew Passion.  It gives the English translation, as well as the Biblical sources and the dramatic script, for each line as the oratorio unfolds.  Click the link, then when you see the painting of St. Matthew, hit the play button.  It’s divided into five 30-minute segments, which makes it an excellent Holy Week devotion.  [Read more…]

Death of a church musician

Church musician Paul Manz died on October 28. An organ virtuoso and respected choral composer, Manz’s best known work is “E’en so Lord Jesus Quickly Come.” It was composed while his 3 year-old son lay dying, it was supposed, though he recovered from his illness, something Manz attributed to prayer. Here is a haunting performance of that piece, with the backdrop of Luther’s church in Wittenberg.

HT: Rev. Edward Bryant