Setting Amos’ Hymn Fragments to Music

As I’m gearing up to teach a course about the Bible and music for the first time next semester, one thing that I’ve been giving much thought to is the fact that students are expected to participate in the creation of a creative work in these core curriculum courses. I don’t like to ask students [Read More…]

Plagiarism in Commentaries and Commentaries on Plagiarism

Given that I’ve now had my first plagiarism case of the semester, the time seems right to comment on this topic. Let me begin with an infographic that explains different kinds of plagiarism and evaluates them in terms of their severity, since it seems that many people are still unclear on precisely what plagiarism is. [Read More…]

But where is the lamb?

I thought it would be appropriate to mention here the compositions of Gabrielle Cerberville, a Butler graduate who composed a work that took the story of the binding of Isaac as its starting point. This was part of a seminar series that is led by Rabbi Sandi Sasso, which gives artists an opportunity to come [Read More…]

Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto

It had been a while since I had heard this fabulous piece of music, but it was on the radio yesterday, and so I had to offer it to blog readers to listen to as well. Enjoy! [Read more…]

A Mandaean Song from San Antonio

It is amazing the things you find when your interests intersect in unusual ways. The American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting is in San Antonio this year, and that also happens to be the city with the largest Mandaean population in the United States. I was told that there is at [Read More…]

Hilding Rosenberg, Symphony No.4 “Johannes uppenbarelse”

A symphony based on and incorporating parts of the Revelation of John, as well as poems by Hjalmar Gullberg. Composed in the context of World War II and the expansion of the Nazis into Scandinavia. Just one of the ever-increasing number of pieces that I know will need to at least get a mention in my course [Read More…]

Random Churches of Rome 1: Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater

Some of the most delightful moments in my exploring Rome this summer were unscripted moments when I happened to be passing a church and decided to enter. Sometimes I found incredible works of art. Once I found a performance going on of Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater, in the Sant’Andrea della Valle church in Piazza Vidoni. Having come in [Read More…]

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Authentic Power and Gentleness: A Meeting With Pēteris Vasks

A piece that I wrote for the Latvian national music organization back in 2004 vanished from the internet at some point. I recently discovered that I still had the text of the piece in an e-mail, and so I thought I would share it here.   Authentic Power and Gentleness: A Meeting With Pēteris Vasks Last week I [Read More…]

Psalm Songs

As I prepare to teach a course on the Bible and music in the Spring for the first time, I am on the lookout for new and/or interesting music at the intersection of the two. And so I am grateful to Abram Kielsmeier-Jones for sharing these bluegrass settings of the Psalms by The Corner Room: [Read More…]

The Same Four Chords (in Music and Religion)

The above video is a fun illustration of something that is well-known to musicians but which sometimes surprises others: music recycles the same notes, chords, and intervals constantly. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Music is, after all, a kind of language, and in language we are not for the most part inventing new words, but using words that [Read More…]