We live in a world dominated by digital technology—technology that majorly affects our modern musical world. Although digital technology can offer us a wealth of music we might otherwise not have access to, digital recordings lack the inherent risk of live performance—a risk that lends live performances a certain sense of humanity. This humanity reflects the reality of our lives, including the reality of salvation through Christ. Although digital technology in the musical world is a great gift, it is a worthy endeavor to continue to pursue live musical performances in order to experience the wonder and beauty of music that we must take as is in all its imperfection.
The new music collection features an assortment of nineteen wonderful preludes by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) and edited by Sam Eatherton. Telemann composed chorale preludes that were typically set twice, the first in three voices and the second alio modo or aliter (“in another way”) consisting of two voices (bicinium), making these settings valuable to student and seasoned organists alike. This collection of chorale preludes was carefully selected and edited by Sam Eatherton to be compatible with Lutheran Service Book and other hymnals. These settings provide a fresh alternative that will appeal to church organists looking for new ways to present these German chorale tunes.
This past weekend, I discovered a delightful new album that mixed Mozart horn concertos with mambo music featuring the French horn. The promotional video for the album showed a colorfully arrayed orchestra playing a mambo on a Havana street, the musicians dancing to their own music.
Crumbled have spires in ev’ry land;
Bells still are chiming and calling,
Calling the young and old to rest,
But above all the souls distressed,
Longing for rest everlasting. (LSB 645:1)
On Reformation Day, October 31, we celebrate Martin Luther and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg. This event also led to the eventual creation of the Lutheran Church.
Holy Week, that crowning week of the Church Year taking us through the Passion of our Lord to His glorious resurrection, has passed and with it some of the most beautiful and wonderful music many of us hear in church during the year. I invite you to take a moment to reflect on that music and to revel in your recollection.
Our culture often promotes relaxed and casual attitudes toward church, urging that a church should be a place where you feel welcomed and comfortable and where you can enjoy your favorite songs while sipping your favorite latte. As appealing as this sounds, why should we strive to keep church and worship reverent? What does music have to do with it?
Worship encourages even the most hesitant participant to take part in the hymns, songs, and liturgy. This post considers the role that good acoustics play when encouraging full participation in worship.
A music history professor once painted this picture for me: “Imagine you are a commoner in the Middle Ages, slaving away in the fields every day. Now imagine you walk into church. When it is cold outside, the church is warm. When it is hot outside, the church is cool. Now imagine you come into church and hear this.” And she played for us a Gregorian chant.
At the LCMS Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music last week, a visiting pastor told us something that reminded us why music is so important in the Church.