Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Christmas is coming

and the choirs are preparing programmes.

I was just asked for some 'Christmas' music from Tanakh. Guess what - there's lots to be applied to hope, to Advent and so on and there is real continuity (no matter how often verses get taken out of context) in the traditions, but to find a carol in Tanakh - that's a stretch.

Nevertheless, try this one - Isaiah 9:5 (English verse 6) without all the syllables. (I will get it on my You-tube channel eventually).

I have also extended the lullaby of Proverbs 8 with a prelude including some fun sections with percussion as above (never as easy as you think it might be). So there's 7 minutes of music for a 'Christmas' program. (I hope you don't need to ask what Proverbs 8 has to do with Christmas or with the heavy burden of hope placed on our children - government on shoulders indeed!.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Biblical Studies Carnival for September

This past month's Biblical Studies carnival from Phillip Long is here.

If you search at the second level, an older post of mine turns up under James McGrath's roundup combining music and Biblical Studies, Belshazzar and Other Scripture in Song. Bravo James and thank you.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Videos of Diarmaid MacCulloch at UVIC

People may be interested in these lectures from Oxford history professor, Diarmaid MacCulloch from the last two weeks here in Victoria.

First, Christianity, Past, Present, and Future
Christianity - Past, Present, and Future. from CSRS on Vimeo.

and second, Christianity and Islam, Drawing the Right Lessons from History
Christianity and Islam Drawing the Right Lessons from History from CSRS on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Lamentations of Jeremiah

I have explored the beginning of a slow song with SATB, strings, timpani, oboe and bassoon. Given that four verses takes 6 minutes, one can imagine a very long performance. Typical modern musical settings (like Tallis) do not include a whole chapter, let alone a whole book.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Song of Solomon

My posts in March 2010 present the Song of Solomon in 5 parts. Most recently (March 2017) I reverted to the traditional chapters. They don't seem to have much to do with the structure as measured by the repeated adjuration (2:7, 3:5, 5:8, 8:4). Now I am at the beginning of working on music for the Song. I have done the first section 1:1 to 2:7 for singers and woodwind trio, flute, oboe, and bassoon.

It remains to be heard what the music says about the poetry, the conclusion and the appendix. But here is the introduction and the first poem using the usual deciphering key for cantus firmus. I note that several times a lone g (accent tifcha ב֖) appears in the music. This was unusual enough for me to want to highlight it.

Esther Lemandier sings the song in the Phrygian mode. Haïk-Vantoura sets it mostly in her default chromatic Dorian. I have gone mostly with the Phrygian but an occasional accidental does appear. In this, as in the Elegy of 1 Samuel, I have left the Hebrew rhythms in place and not changed them to fit the English, but I have written an English libretto for reference.

I have now set this down a semitone.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

God in the Dock

This phrase, God in the Dock, a book title used by C. S. Lewis, is the title of the last of the 6 part BBC series with Diarmaid MacCulloch, A history of Christianity. You can watch the videos here.

While this is a thickly painted and informative series, he has a careless error in his text in the last film. He associates the doubt expressed in the Old Testament with anger from God. This is a false association. God is never angry at doubt. Particularly not with the doubt MacCulloch says is expressed by the human about 'eating the apple'. Anger is certainly used to describe a human, but never of God in Genesis. And though in that epitome of religious dialogue, Job, anger is used by the friends and by Job to describe God, this is evidence only of their own sense of God. It is not part of God's self-description in that book.

It is of course obvious that anger is attributed to God and even prayed for in the Psalms (56:8). But generally, though the anger of Yahweh/God burns in (or against) the people, God / Yahweh is described as slow to anger. And what is such anger in response to? This is a bigger question not answered in an early morning post, but I suspect we would find it is a failure of the people to hear, a failure to listen, a failure to care. Doubt is not the issue.

(I note that I never used the word wrath in my translation. That surprises even me. Another one of my avoided words, though I did use it as a sub-domain name within the domain of trouble.)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Comments from eminent personalities

I have been introducing this musical key of Haïk-Vantoura for 9 years now, and some of you may consider me slightly deranged. I know that several musicologists doubt her work, but they haven't lived with it for nearly 10 years. And no other system I have seen comes close to coherence.

Just have a look at these eminent personalities who commented on her work: I haven't listed all the comments in the sources I have but I, if I saw these before I knew of the music, would certainly have paid attention to Marcel Dupré and Olivier Messiaen.