Some thoughts on long hymns

An extract from the Sunday Cantata episode for Trinity 24, first aired on 3 November 2013 on Lutheran Radio UK. In my life so far, I have been fortunate enough to have lived in a number of different countries. In fact, I have moved around enough to consider myself a bit of a home-grown expert…

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Strike soon, blessed hour

In next week's Sunday Cantata, you will be treated to an extraordinary musical experience: a pair of oboes accompanied by a symphony of bells (as rendered by pizzicato strings). The lower strings, cellos and basses, play slow funeral bells, while the upper strings, violins and violas, play faster, more celestial bells. One set to ring…

The purpose of music in the church

Here's an extract from the episode of Sunday Cantata on 25 August 2013 on Lutheran Radio UK. You can listen to the whole programme here. The first part of the programme demonstrates how these words apply to the cantata of the day, BWV 33. One of the important questions for all church musicians—and indeed for…

Sorrow to joy in one simple step

How do you go from this, [podloveaudio src="http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/546760/Blog/audio/11%20-%20Ich%20hatte%20viel%20Bekummernis%2C%20BWV%2021.mp3"] and this, [podloveaudio src="http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/546760/Blog/audio/13%20-%20Ich%20hatte%20viel%20Bekummernis%2C%20BWV%2021.mp3"] to this, [podloveaudio src="http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/546760/Blog/audio/20%20-%20Ich%20hatte%20viel%20Bekummernis%2C%20BWV%2021.mp3"] and this? [podloveaudio src="http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/546760/Blog/audio/21%20-%20Ich%20hatte%20viel%20Bekummernis%2C%20BWV%2021.mp3"] Simple: by being found by the Good Shepherd! The full story, via Bach's cantata BWV 21,  in Sunday Cantata on Lutheran Radio UK this Sunday (16 June), and thereafter on demand on the website. Don't…

Anti-heresy anthem

Some months ago, and at the end of a longer article, Pr. David Petersen quoted a hymn by Luther that was still included in The Lutheran Hymnal (no. 260) but was left out of the Lutheran Service Book. Like a lot of TLH hymns that didn't make it into LSB, this one's a time-tested treasure…

More bad things done to good hymns

My researches for Sunday Cantata keep throwing up wonderful Lutheran chorales that never made it into English, or have been forgotten entirely. More distressing still is to find that hymns that have survived have been sadly mistreated by translators and/or hymnal editors. The latest exhibit for this latter category, from BWV 166, Bach's cantata for…

How to grieve without words

Coming up on Sunday Cantata next week: BWV 12, Weinen, klagen, sorgen, zagen. I have often said—and in this I am far from alone—that no one does joy quite as well as Bach does. When it comes to melancholy, Mozart gives J.S. a run for his money. But then there is music like the opening…

The Right Response to a Great Tragedy

There's a good post over on Steadfast Lutherans by Pr. Nathan Higgins on how to respond to a national tragedy. The substance of the post is summarised in the opening sentence: Perhaps the best way to respond to a national tragedy – or any kind of tragedy, is with mourning, repentance, and faith. In case…

Mr. Suzuki’s Bach Passion

Here is a BBC radio documentary about the extraordinary story of Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan whose Bach recordings have blown away Bach performance—and opened unexpected doors for the Gospel in Japan. These are the recordings we feature on Lutheran Radio UK's Sunday Cantata. Listening to this, you will know why. Click here…