Bishop as Composer

The above is a setting of the Psalms known as the “songs of ascent” (or similar titles), by Russian Orthodox bishop and composer Hilarion Alfeyev. Below is his setting of St. Matthew’s Passion. And here is his Christmas Oratorio:     He is also the author of numerous books…   [Read more…]

Ēriks Ešenvalds’ Passions

Today my class on the Bible and music is picking up a thread from last time – Passion – and tracing it down to the present day, including into film scores. Students have been asked to listen to some things in common but also to explore and bring “show and tell.” If I am asked [Read More…]

Marcel Chyrzyński – Farewell for cello and piano

I love the way YouTube provides the serendipitous discovery of music that is new to me, much the way browsing the shelf at a library has done with books, music, and other things. Such was the case with the above piece by Marcel Chyrzyński. You can find a collection of his pieces that are on YouTube on [Read More…]

R. Nathaniel Dett, The Ordering of Moses

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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…]

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…]

Max Stern: Bible and Music

I’ve been developing a course on the Bible and music, and so was delighted to see a review of a book on the topic appear in Review of Biblical Literature. The book is Bible & Music: Influences of the Old Testament on Western Music, by Max Stern. Here is a video of the author, reading from and [Read More…]

Geoffrey Burgon: Connecting the Church, Monty Python, Doctor Who, and More

In exploring the Naxos music database’s new releases, I discovered Geoffrey Burgon’s Requiem. Burgon is known for TV soundtracks (including Doctor Who) and film score work, such as on Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. I read the conference volume that looked at Jesus and Brian, but although the music was mentioned, no one seems to have focused [Read More…]

Myaskovsky’s Symphony No.18

I’ve been listening to Nicolai Myaskovsky’s symphonic works today as I write. There is a lot of beauty and grandeur throughout, but the second movement of his Symphony No.18 in C Major, op.42, particularly demanded that I stop what I was doing and give my full attention. And so I thought in turn I would share [Read More…]

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…]