"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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Of the Father's Love Begotten

"Of the Father's Love Begotten" is a 5th century hymn composed by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius. From the YouTube notes: The communion hymn from Midnight Mass 2011, broadcast live from St George's Cathedral Souhwark. The hymn is sung by the Choir of St George's Cathedral, the Cathedral Girls Choir and the congregation. The verse harmonisation is by Sir David Willcocks, the last verse and descant by David Briggs. The Choir is director by Nick Gale with Norman Harper at the organ.

St George's Cathedral, Southwark is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, south London and is the seat of the Archbishop of Southwark.



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Agni Parthene

From Orthowiki:

Agni Parthene (Gr. Αγνή Παρθένε) is a non-liturgical hymn composed in Greek by St. Nectarios of Aegina in the 19th century during his tenure as director of the Rizarios Theological School of Athens. St. Nektarios liked to compose hymns in honor of the Mother of God to deepen his personal prayer and relationship with her. The tradition passed down at the monastery of St. Nektarios, in Aegina, Greece, is that the Lady herself appeared before him and requested that he record on paper a particular hymn the angelic choirs were about to sing. This hymn was the "Agni Parthene". The original script can still be viewed on his prayer table in his bedroom at this monastery.



Monday, November 7, 2016

Phos Hileron

From the You Tube notes:

This is an ancient Christian hymn, perhaps the oldest Christian hymn we have, dating from the 3rd or 4th century. We say it when a new liturgical day begins, at Vespers. It is an invitation to praise the One God in three "hypostas" at the moment when the physical light disappears and a new one should be lit: the light of wisdom.



Monday, October 31, 2016

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

October 31 is Reformation Day, marked by the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg in 1517. To commemorate the occasion, here is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," sung by the Roger Wagner Chorale.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Psalm 53 in Aramaic (Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church)

When Pope Francis went to the Republic of Georgia, he visited the Chaldean Catholic Church of St. Simon in the city of Tbilisi (Vatican Radio has the story here). There he met with representatives of the Assyrian Chaldean community (members of the Assyrian diaspora). While he visited the church, they sang this hymn with the words from Psalm 53 in Aramaic (the language that Jesus spoke). The music is spine-tingling. Nothing like it in the Western Churches.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Raga Charukeshi (Classical Indian Music)

In Martin Scorsese’s documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Ravi Shankar is heard to say that sound is God. Here are some masters of the divine sounds of Hindu music.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Divine Guest, Divine Sound, Divine Life - The poetry of Kabir

Robert Bly performs the poetry of Kabir at one of the Mythic Journeys conferences. 
Musical accompaniment by Eugene Friesen and Arto Tuncboyaciyan. 


Friday, August 12, 2016

Woke Up This Morning

Here's another Gospel rendition from Ruthie Foster. She adds some Texas rhythm & blues to her musical style.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria)

The You Tube video does not tell who the singers are, but his sounds like a recording by the Sixteen Christophers. The musical score is by 16th century Spanish composer, Tomás Luis de Victoria.



Friday, July 29, 2016

Yes, God Is Real

Garrison Keillor recently hosted his last broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. On that program through the years many musical groups and a variety of genres has been featured on their live broadcast. Here is Jearlyn Steele (with Rich Dworsky and The Dayton's Parking Ramp Band) singing the Gospel hymn, "Yes, God Is Real" on their February 28, 2015 broadcast:


Thursday, July 21, 2016

If Ye Love Me (Tallis)

If Ye Love Me by Thomas Tallis

Vox Luminis in the stunning acoustic of the Chapel of St John's College, Cambridge



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Eri Sakhi (Sufi Song to the Divine Beloved))

From Technology of the Heart:

"One of the most popular Sufi Songs (original lyrics by Hazrat Amir Khusrow), a new rendition is done by Ustad Rashid Khan. The song speaks of the arrival of the Divine Presence in the Temple of Heart, which is the Throne of God. The realization and discovery of God's Presence in Heart is likened with homecoming of the Great Beloved. Also it speaks of the bewilderment of mystic lovers of God in the Majestic Presence and how the Presence or absence of God makes everything or nothing for Divine lovers." (Scroll down to read English translation of the song).

Translation of  "Eri Sakhi"

O friend, the homecoming of my Beloved
has made this courtyard so perfectly blessed

To my Beloved, I bow a thousand times
for accepting at His feet, this unworthy self of mine

In deep longing I waited and waited,
with henna and flowers arranged

Glancing upon the Face of my Beloved,
lost I - my heart and my mind

Being in the Presence of the Beloved
makes the spring so much more beautiful

And the spring that is spent without the Beloved,
may it turn to ashes, may it turn to ashes!

O friend, the homecoming of my Beloved
has made this courtyard so perfectly blessed.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

One Through Love

"A short video segment from the One Through Love project featuring Coleman Barks on Longing in Rumi's poetry."


Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Sacred Harp of Hoboken

If you are wondering what Sacred Harp music is – and why – this is a good introduction. The YouTube note states "This video was originally made by Will Payne when he was working for WTBS in Atlanta."


Friday, June 24, 2016

Sacred Harp: I'm Going Home

A recording cannot really do justice to Sacred Harp, just as a picture of a sailboat cannot communicate the experience of riding the waves. Nevertheless, after going to the National Sacred Harp Convention last week, I was inspired to find some recordings online.

The movie Cold Mountain brought Sacred Harp to the big screen. The choir they used to record the soundtrack was drawn from authentic Sacred Harp singers who have helped to keep the art alive.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sacred Harp 59: Holy Manna

Sacred Harp singing, preserved in Appalachia among Primitive Baptist Churches, is not like what is typically heard in mainline Protestant churches. This is one Sacred Harp tune, however, that did find its way into more traditional church hymnals.I grew up hearing "Brethren We Have Met to Worship" sung in staid Sunday morning settings. The "fa-sol-la" rhythm (fuguing) actually translated well in the more traditional church hymn format.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sacred Harp: "Thy Beauties Are Divine" (Isaac Watts)

Isaac Watts, the story goes, was absolutely dismayed by the dreary music he heard in the Church of England's Psalter. When he complained to his father, his father challenged him to do better if he thought he could improve on what King David wrote. Isaac Watts indeed went on to write over 600 hymns, many of which found widespread use in Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian hymnals. Most of those hymns were composed when he was between the ages of 20 and 22. Many hymns by Isaac Watts have found their way into the Sacred Harp hymnal. This one is a wonderful example of a hymn of adoration.

Tune: Raymond C. Hamrick, 1980
 Words: Isaac Watts, 1719

My Savior and my King,
Thy beauties are divine;
Thy lips with blessing overflow,
And ev’ry grace is Thine.

The smilings of Thy face,
How amiable they are;
’Tis heav’n to rest in Thine embrace,
And nowhere else but there.

Nor earth, nor all the sky,
Can one delight afford;
No, not a drop of Thy real joy,
Without Thy presence, Lord.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beautiful Meditative Islamic Call to Prayer

Thinking of our Muslim brothers and sisters during this month of Ramadan. Also the Birmingham Islamic Society, as it does each year, is inviting the community to share an iftar meal. There is information at their website. Here is an excerpt from their invitation letter (also found on their website):

"We would very much appreciate the opportunity to host you, your family and friends, or your organization or group on a weekday or a weekend evening between the dates of June 7 and July 4, 2015. We warmly welcome you to observe our evening prayer at sunset. Dinner will follow with a brief presentation on Islam and a question/answer session. The program usually runs about 2 hours in total, depending on the visiting group and their questions."


Thursday, May 5, 2016

In Remembrance (Buryl Red)

'In Remembrance,' from the 1972 musical, Celebrate Life!, about the life of Jesus. Music by Buryl Red, book and lyrics by Ragan Courtney, featuring Cynthia Clawson. Seldom do melody, harmony, and lyric come together so beautifully as with this selection.


    In Remembrance
(Ragan Courtney and Buryl Red)

In remembrance of Me eat this bread
In remembrance of Me drink this wine
In remembrance of Me pray for the time
When God's own will is done

In remembrance of me heal the sick
In remembrance of me feed the poor
In remembrance of me open the door
And let your brother in, let him in

Take eat and be comforted
Drink and remember too
That this is my body and precious blood
Shed for you, shed for you

In remembrance of me search for truth
In remembrance of me always love
In remembrance of me don't look above
But in your heart, in your heart
Look in your heart for God

Do this in remembrance of Me
Do this in remembrance of Me
In remembrance of Me


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

'Senex puerum portabat’ (William Byrd) at Ely Cathedral

"Ely Cathedral is one of those places where music lifts the soul towards heaven in surroundings that are sublime. In the setting of an empty Cathedral filled with over 6000 candles for Candlemas, Ely Cathedral Choir sings ‘Senex puerum portabat’ by the composer William Byrd."



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Precious Lord, Take My Hand (Mahalia Jackson)

One of Rev. Martin Luther King's favorite songs was "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" (composed by Tommy Dorsey). Mahalia Jackson sang it on several occasions for Dr. King at meetings and rallies where he spoke. She sang it for him one last time at his funeral on April 9, 1968 following his assassination on April 4.  Here is her recorded version from the album Bless This House. The song is also features in the film Selma.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

As the Ruin Falls (Phil Keaggy)

Phil Keaggy wrote music to accompany a poem by C.S. Lewis, "As the Ruin Falls." Keaggy was a pioneer in the Contemporary Christian music genre. C.S. Lewis's words gave more depth than one usually found in the emerging genre back in the 1970s when this was recorded. Scroll down to see the lyrics. If you really want the full depth of Lewis's poem, read his novel Till We Have Faces. This song is a good meditation for Holy Week.

As the Ruin Falls

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek--
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

                                                    ~ Clive Staples Lewis

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lord, I Know I've Been Changed

When I heard this stirring rendition of African American Gospel music performed by the DW Poppy Senior Chamber Choir, I was so impressed, I had to find out who this group was. I found out that is is a secondary school choir from Canada! At Vibestar Media I learned:

This Canadian choir performs a wide variety of pieces ranging from Handel's Messiah, to Canadian folk songs to contemporary pieces. Under the direction of Deidre Baird the Senior Chamber Choir at D.W. Poppy Secondary School received an "unprecedented four consecutive first place provincial choral awards (also known as the George S. Mathieson awards)" The DW Poppy Senior Chamber choir is made up of about 60 students of DW Poppy Secondary School ranging from 15-18 years old.

Their website is http://dwpoppymusic.com/



Thursday, March 3, 2016

Adoro Te Devote

One of my favorite hymn tunes is Adoro Te Devote, sometimes referred to as French Church Melody.

The Latin lyrics and English translation:

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.

O memoriale mortis Domini!
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini!
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.

Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo sanguine:
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen

I devoutly adore you, O hidden God,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to you,
And in contemplating you,
It surrenders itself completely.

Sight, touch, taste are all deceived
In their judgment of you,
But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;

There is nothing truer than this word of truth.
O memorial of our Lord's death!
Living bread that gives life to man,
Grant my soul to live on you,

And always to savor your sweetness.
Lord Jesus, Good Pelican,
wash me clean with your blood,
One drop of which can free
the entire world of all its sins.

Jesus, whom now I see hidden,
I ask you to fulfill what I so desire:
That on seeing you face to face,
I may be happy in seeing your glory. Amen


Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Lilies of the Field (John Michael Talbot)

"The Lilies of the Field" first appeared on the double album, Troubadour of the Great King, a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi.



Saturday, February 13, 2016

Posted from Native American Magazine Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nativeindianamericanold/

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday Prayer from U2 (Yahweh)

On this Ash Wednesday, here is a heartfelt prayer from U2 that I thought would be appropriate.


Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to critisize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

(This post originally appeared at Not Dark Yet)


Friday, February 5, 2016

Ave Maria (Biebl)

"Here's what happens when two of America's premiere male ensembles, Cantus & Chanticleer walk into a bar..." A beautiful rendition of Franz Biebl's Ave Maria! I'll never forget the day I met Chanticleer during it's early days.It was in the Spring of 1978, I had started grad school in the San Francisco Bay Area just a couple of months earlier. My roommate and decided to go into San Francisco one afternoon, and came upon some young men in Renaissance costume singing old songs a Capella on the street near Ghiradelli Square. 

We were quite impressed and went up to talk with them after their performance. I was a recent English Major graduate and was fascinated when the young man we spoke with said the group's name was Chanticleer. In the years hence, I am always thrilled when I hear them mentioned on the radio, recalling having met them on the streets of San Francisco. Now I am happy to hear about the group Cantus, as well.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

The World's Oldest "Christmas Carol"

We are still in the season of Christmastide (until Epiphany on January 6). Here is a hymn written by St. Romanos the Melodist, a 6th century Syrian poet. The song is known as the Christmas Kontakion. The first video is in Arabic (with English subtitles). In addition to the beautiful music, you will also see artwork and scenes form Christian sites in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. The second video is a shorter English version.