Singing the Song of Songs

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Elijah for In-Choir-Ing Minds

Details in the image above about an upcoming event in Indianapolis, with discussion and some musical foretastes of the upcoming performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The work is fascinating for those interested in the intersection of the Bible and music, from its dramatic beginning with Elijah’s curse, to its ending which incorporates a range of scripture. [Read More…]

Review of Psalms and Music

My review of Max Stern’s book Psalms and Music is now available in RBL to SBL members. I inadvertently violated the SBL open access policy in sharing my last review on Academia.edu and so I will not be doing so this time. I will say that, while I did have some criticisms to offer (Stern [Read More…]

Creation and Creativity

Coming up on February 22nd is an exhibit and performance connected with the seminar on religion, spirituality, and the arts run by Sandy Sasso. It will include a performance of Aaron Copland’s “In The Beginning,” and so I am delighted to be able to get the students from my course on the Bible and music to [Read More…]

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…]

Moroccan Jewish Psalms

In exploring the traditions of chanting or singing the Psalms and other scriptures, I came across the above YouTube channel which features music of the Sephardic Jewish tradition, more specifically from Morocco. Can you detect that the tonality is not that of Western even-tempered music? You can find demonstrations of the relevant scales (also used [Read More…]

Introducing Metrical Psalms

For the first time since I’ve been teaching, I brought a guitar with me to class and sang to/with my students. Teaching a course on the Bible and music does strange things to one’s pedagogy. I decided to record the class, mainly so that I could see what it was like. Not nearly as bad [Read More…]

Christian Architecture

The only true Christian architecture of the first century was one of living stones and not of brick or mortar. This community-centered ideal accompanied the development of Christianity from its rural Jewish origins into the urban Gentile mission. Edward Foley, Foundations of Christian Music: The Music of Pre-Constantinian Christianity, p.52. [Read more…]

“Sarah” by Elizabeth Swados

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