More Biblical Music: Hebrew Love Poetry, John the Baptist, and More

More Biblical Music: Hebrew Love Poetry, John the Baptist, and More July 23, 2021

First, although not specifically about the Bible and music, music in Christian worship is a major focus in this upcoming event, a four day virtual revival that begins July 27th. Very Rev. Kim Coleman writes about this retreat, “History buffs will enjoy learning about the original Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Collection of African American Spirituals and Other Songs that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and was the precursor to the Lift Every Voice and Sing II hymnal many Episcopal parishes have in our pews,” she said. “Others will enjoy the afternoon seminars, guided breakout sessions, affinity group gatherings, and empowering evening worship with highly acclaimed preachers and robust music. There will be special programming each day for children and youth. We conclude the evening with singing and dance experiences that will make you think you have left the virtual platform.”

Next, let me share some things that I’ve come across recently. First, there is now a YouTube channel dedicated to ancient Hebrew love poetry set to music (HT Jim Davila). Here is the Song of Songs as you’ve never heard it before, performed by Hadar Nehemya:

Composer Dinos Constantinides, whose music I have long had a great appreciation for, sadly has passed away. Here is the first part of his Concerto of Psalms:

As I have looked for materials relevant to my John the Baptist research project, I’ve come across a few less well known pieces of music related to him. First, here is an archival recording of the ballet “Daughter of Herodias” choreographed by Ruth Page. There is also a song by Rev. Moses Mason, “John the Baptist” from the Anthology of American Folk Music.

In the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church one will encounter a hymn to John the Baptist. There is also a modern work by Cecilia McDowall:

Naji Hakim has composed a Sinfonia in honore Sancti Ioannis Bautistae for organ.

The score can be found online of the oratorio St. John the Baptist with text selected from the Bible by G. E. Monk and music by George Alexander Macfarren. And then there’s Johnny Cash

Here are some more links related to the Bible and music, both directly and indirectly:

Ecology as Doxology: Psalm 104

Bob Macdonald blogged about Psalm 100. He also offered a brief discourse on Hebrew words.

David Mihalyfy has a new article out, “How Pop Music Mainstreams Religious Weirdness”

Rehabilitating the Sacred Side of Arthur Sullivan

Religion and the Arts jubilee collection from Brill

The latest episode of the Creatively Christian podcast is about music

Jim Spinti’s trip through Abraham Heschel’s writings has intersected with the Psalms

For Ever and Ever: To Eternity and Beyond?

Also distantly related: A hymn by one of the founding members of the band Genesis, Anthony Phillips:

Yiddish music and culture are making a comeback in Germany

Peter Zinovieff: composer, synthesizer, innovator

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