I love the way the internet makes interesting and genuinely useful connections between things that lead to discoveries we might not have made without this AI assistance. One example from my recent experience is having YouTube introduce me to the Symphony No.1 by Eric DeLamarter.
This was recommended to me by YouTube as a new upload to a YouTube channel that I subscribe to because it consistently offers music that I like, introducing me to new music by neglected composers of the 20th century.
Looking for more information on Eric DeLamarter through a Google search, I was startled to see that one of the top results was a page on the Enoch Seminar’s website, or more precisely on its Wiki site 4 Enoch: The Online Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism, and Christian and Islamic Origins!
The reason is that DeLamarter set text from the Gospel of John to music as an oratorio with the title, “The Testimony of John.”
Looking for more information about that work I didn’t find much, but I did learn that DeLamarter also composed settings of Psalms 46, 68, 80, and 104, thanks to a book available through Google Books.
Search results also made me aware of Jaromir Weinberger’s Bible Poems for Organ. Among the sites that mention this are Michael’s Music Service, which includes audio clips and samples of the sheet music; and Contrebombarde Concert Hall, a site dedicated to the sharing of organ music, which offered recordings and commentary. Both of these sites contain the kind of material and formatting I hope to embed in my textbook on the Bible and music. And of course, all of the above is material that gets added to my ever-growing list (or perhaps I should better call it an information dump into a Word document) of compositions related to the Bible.
Here are some other pieces of music that I was listening to either not long before YouTube recommended DeLamarter’s symphony to me, or that it recommended I listen to next. Try them and see where the algorithm takes you and what pleasant new discoveries it offers you! If you explore all the way to the end of this post, you’ll find another happenstance biblical connection made by YouTube…
The recommended video above led me to want to hear more by the same composer, Vasyl Barvinsky. YouTube had a lot to offer. Among them was this work called “The Song of Songs”:
I’m not entirely certain whether the text is actually from the Bible’s Song of Songs. But the title makes a connection at the very least. And it is a beautiful piece of music, worth listening to regardless of whether your interest is in music that connects with the Bible or not. There’s more about Barvinsky and his music on the website of the Ukrainian Art Song Project, as mentioned in this article:
Finally, let me emphasize that not all of my musical discoveries are a result of happenstance, and even those that are provided by an AI are suggestions made based on channels I subscribe to and past listening history. However, a lot comes my way directly as a result of subscribing to YouTube channels and email lists. One that I mention here regularly is the Milken Archive. There, an interview with baritone James Maddelena drew my attention to Lukas Foss’ “Song of Anguish” which is a setting of texts from Isaiah. Here’s a recording of the piece:
And here’s a video about it: