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…]

Jacob and the Angel for Piano and Orchestra

I expect that I will be using Max Stern’s books about Bible and Music and Psalms and Music in connection with my course on the Bible and Music in the Spring. Stern is a composer, and not only is his piece exploring the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel interesting musically, but the expanded retelling [Read More…]

Hostile to Art?

I thought there were some interesting thoughts in a recent article interviewing Billy Smiley, formerly of the band White Heart and now of The Union of Sinners and Saints: Faith and spirituality can barely survive religion. Imagine how tough it is for art… I listen to Christian music now and ask, “Where are the poets? [Read More…]

On The Edge of the Infinite

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Religious Studies for Business Students

To mark the occasion of my first visit to Rome, I thought I would share the above cartoon. It illustrates one of the practical reasons why something like the study of religion might not be as irrelevant for entrepreneurs as is sometimes claimed. In fact, I had this confirmed to me recently when my colleague [Read More…]

Revelation: A Rock Opera

Have you heard about Mike Doughty’s rock opera based on the Book of Revelation? I love this sort of thing. Others have alluded to Revelation (see “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis, for instance), but to my knowledge this is the first complete rock opera setting of the book. And interestingly it begins with John 1:1 and a [Read More…]

Bono and the Psalms

Having organized a service that incorporated music by U2, I was excited to see soon afterwards that Bono was collaborating with Eugene Peterson on a project focused on the Psalms. See recent pieces in the Huffington Post and John Pavlovitz’s blog for more details, as well as the video below. Of related interest, Jeff Carter [Read More…]

May the 4th Be With You!

For Star Wars Day, here’s Luke Skywalker singing “All By Myself,” courtesy of David Unger Music. [Read more…]


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