"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.

I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get the most joy in life out of music."

~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Fire that Never Dies Away

Thankful for the fire that never dies away -- and thankful for the Taize community and their ecumenical gatherings.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mexican Baroque (Chanticleer)

I'll never forget the first time I heard Chanticleer. I was walking along near Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco, a new grad student in the Bay Area back in 1978. There my roommate and I came upon this group of people in Renaissance garb singing beautiful Renaissance music acapella on the street. Since that day I always take notice when Chanticleer is mentioned. I was especially intrigued when I heard about the recording they did back in 1995 on Mexican Baroque. I got the CD and was introduced for the first time to baroque music from the New World. Here is the quote from the liner notes:

"This extraordinary album reflects the musical sophistication of Ignacio de Jerusalem and Manuel de Zumaya, two significant composers in Mexico during the 18th century. This glorious music was widely performed throughout "New Spain," from Guatemala in the south to California missions in the north. Chanticleer is joined by the Chanticleer Sinfonia, conducted by Joseph Jennings."

Enjoy the following selection, "Responsorio Segundo de S.S. Jose" (2nd Responsory for St. Joseph).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I Love to Tell the Story

Here are Emmylou Harris and Robert Duvall singing the Gospel hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story." The song was featured on the soundtrack for The Apostle, which starred Duvall. The hymn is an old favorite featured in many Protestant hymnals, like the Baptist Hymnal that I grew up singing from.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Islamic Call to Prayer

Many years ago, I heard the Islamic call to prayer (the Azan) while traveling in Kuala Lumpur. Today at the Washington National Cathedral is hosting a Muslim prayer service. Hopefully, this ecumenical move will help in bringing many people of goodwill together in affirming the right of each to practice his or her faith in peace. Here is a Muslim call to prayer that was offered in an ecumenical service, and a wonderful opportunity for people of all faiths to understand the the Azan. From the You Tube notes: "The Azan is uttered in a loud, albeit sweet melodious, voice to announce to the faithful that it is time for the Obligatory Prayer and to invite them to offer the prayers. Those who perform Azan are known as 'Muezzin.'"


Thursday, November 13, 2014

For the Beauty of the Earth (John Rutter)

There is definite value in praising the Creator. It may not be for the reasons we think (who can plumb the depths?), but those who have been involved in a choir understand. They know that praise can have a cleansing effect, it puts things in a new light. We see the world differently from the vantage-point of praise. Our lives are given a different perspective.

"For the Beauty of the Earth." is John Rutter's wonderfully soaring take on an older hymn, lyrics by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint. Listen to this beautiful rendition, sung by Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary) choir, which someone has thankfully interwoven with beautiful pictures of the earth's beauty.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Come Sunday (Duke Ellington)

I first learned that jazz great Duke Ellington had written  a repertoire of sacred music a little over 20 years ago when "Come Sunday" was performed at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. It was performed as a a trumpet solo with piano accompaniment during the worship service. Here we have two fine renditions. The first features the great Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson doing a beautiful a cappella presentation of the lyrics with a very sparse piano accompaniment by Duke Ellington himeself. In the second version is an orchestral presentation featuring a trumpet solo. Enjoy either one, or both. You can scroll down to read the lyrics.

Come Sunday
By Duke Ellington

Oh dear Lord I´ve loved
God almighty, God up above
Please, look down and see my people through

I believe the sun and moon
Will shine up in the sky
When the day is grey
It´s just clouds passing by

He´ll give peace and comfort
To every troubled mind
Come sunday, oh come sunday
That´s the day

Often we feel weary
But he knows our every care
Go to him in secret
He will hear every prayer

The leaves in the valley
They neither toll nor spin
And flowers bloom in spring
And birds sing

Up from dawn till sunset
Man work hard all the day
Come Sunday, oh come Sunday
That´s the day


Friday, November 7, 2014

The 23rd Psalm by Bobby McFerrin

One of the most popular posts on my other blog, Not Dark Yet, continues to be Bobby McFerrin's recording of The 23rd Psalm. It is one that McFerrin composed and dedicated to his mother. It is quite remarkable, the amazing shift that occurs by his use of the feminine pronoun in the well-known scripture passage. Here is the Brisbane Chamber Choir with their beautiful rendition of the song.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"If Ye Love Me," Thomas Tallis

"Thomas Tallis was born near the beginning of the fifteenth century and very little is known of his early life. After a succession of appointments as a church musician, he spent most of his vocation in service to the Crown as musician to the Chapels Royal under four successive monarchs, both Catholic and Protestant. Although always a Roman Catholic, Tallis had the political savvy to survive the shifts in ecclesial loyalties and the musical acumen to respond to the changing needs of the Church of England. He is regarded as the father of English Church music since the Reformation."
The beautiful choral work, "If Ye Love Me" is presented here with a mesmerizing visual borrowed from Disney's Fantasia.