Thursday, March 29, 2007

Another Great Easter Choral Piece

Sir John Stainer's "Crucifixion"
Modeled on the great passion settings of J.S. Bach, Stainer's "Crucifixion" is amongst the most popular of all English choral works and vividly portrays the events of the Passion of Christ. Scored for tenor and bass soloists, organ and mixed choir, this piece combines recitatives, solos and masterful choruses that range from the graphic mob shouts of 'Crucify Him' to the ethereally beautiful meditation of the work's centerpiece "God so loved the world".
I've been blessed countless times to sing as a 1st tenor in the Baptist Bible Seminary's Chorus which included the "God So Loved The World" number from the this masterpiece in their touring program in 1956, even singing on a NBC-TV music special.

My Favorite Easter Choral Work

"The 7 Last Words of Christ"
Théodore Dubois (1837-1924) was an important organist, composer and teacher of music on the Paris music scene during the 1860's. In 1861 he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome for composition. He studied at Reims and the Paris Conservatory where he later was the director from 1896-1905. The composer of four operas, a large-scale ballet, several oratorios, a Requiem Mass as well as many orchestral works, Dubois remained a composer of the "academic style." Much overshadowed by his French contemporaries Charles Gounod, Gabriel Fauré and Camille Saint-Saëns in composition, he is best known for this book, Notes et Étues d'Harmonie (Notes and Lessons in Harmony), still a source for harmonic practice in the Romantic style. He succeeded Saint-Saëns as organist at the Madelaine in 1877 and was highly regarded as an excellent music teacher. The oratorio The Seven Last Words of Christ was first performed at Saint Clotilde in Paris in 1867 where Dubois was the choir director. Scored originally for full orchestra, chorus and soloists, Dubois later revised his orchestration to include only organ, timpani and harp, the version most often heard. This performance uses the original orchestration of 2 flues, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 3 trombones, strings, organ and percussion. The work is presented in eight movements: an introduction for soprano and orchestra followed by a movement for each word of Christ from the cross. The last movement ends with a hymnic prayer set in homophonic style much like a choral at the end of a cantata from the 18th century.
I've been blessed to have sung portions of this great work several times and to even conduct a choir performing this while the Protestant Chapel Choir Director at Wm Beaumont General Hospital, El Paso, TX during my army service duty 1966-68. I even got to sing the solo 4th Word. If you haven't ever heard this music you're missing a great experience and gift from God.

Did you know that...

St Francis of Assisi is said to have put the Lord’s teaching into a very pithy phrase: “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words".
This sign show up a lot on various churches in this area, but I never knew who is considered the author, but several Net sites give the credit to St Francis of Assisi.

I still remember!

In June of 1955 I was taking a course entitled "British Constitional History since 1835" while a student at Baptist Seminary in Johnson City, NY I decided as I often did those days to take a nap and when I awoke I found this quotation pinned to my shirt from a fellow student!

"Squander the moments of preparation, and you may have to rue their loss through all the coming years"!
F. B Meyer

Another favorite of mine.

"God give us men. The time demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and willing hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And dam his treacherous flatteries without winking;
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty and in private thinking".
Josiah Gilbert Holland. 1819-1881

So you're slow!

"Those who walk with a limp, still walk"

Sign today at BBL on south 18th Street here in Yakima. They change both of their signs every business day. The BBL stands for "Better Built Lives" and all their staff as well as the owners, are recovering drug and alcohol abusers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Are Goals Important?

"Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk".
J.C. Penney

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From Martin Luther

"I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us".

Don't be afraid to try!

"100% of the shots you don't take don't go in".
Wayne Gretzky

Not the "Oak Ridge Boys" singing a song from 1743!

Yes, this gospel country-western group's rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's The Messiah is a favorite of mine. On August 23, 1743 Handel locked himself in his home and using a manuscript he had received from Charles Jennens of a word-for-word collection of various Biblical texts about Christ, completed in just 23 days this masterpiece. I've been blessed to sing the Christmas portion as part of the 1955 Wheaton College Chorus and the Easter portion as part of the Skagit County Community Chorus in 1971, as well of several "sing-along" groups in Seattle at the Christmas season. I saw a Christmas fund-raising TV Special for "Feed the Chidren" featuring the Oak Ridge Boys. They ending that TV Special with an acappella singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus". I've tried to get that DVD without success, so if anyone has access to that please contact me.

Consider this...

"Things generally turn out the best for those who make the best out of how things turn out"- John Wooden

Monday, March 26, 2007

Can't decide or just riding the fence?

"If you come to a fork in the road...take it"! Yogi Berra in a talk to a high school graduation ceremony.

Still Stuck in the 1800's

"My Soul Has Found a Resting Place"

Words written in 1891 by Lidie H. Edmunds, a pseudonym for Eliiza Edmunds Hewitt. The chorus of this hymn says it all.."I need no other argument, I need no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me"!! The music is based on a traditional Norwegian melody arranged by William J. Kirkpatrick who also composed the melodies of many of our favorite hymns such as "King of my life, I crown Thee now". He died September 21, 1921 while working on a poem he was planning to set to music. His wife found him slumped over that poem which said: "Just as Thou wilt, Lord, this is my cry, Just as Thou wilt, to live or die, I am Thy servant, Thou knowest best, Just as Thou wilt, Lord, labor or rest".

Just in case you're tired!

"Go the second mile.... it's seldom crowded!"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Great Sign for Christmas

"He was Born Below so that we can be Borne Above"

I saw this sign this past Christmas at a car wash on Tieton Ave here in Yakima.

"Don't worry about tomorrow. God's already there!"

Seen just a few months ago, at First Baptist Church here in Yakima. This sign speaks to the Eternity of God, doesn't it?

My all-time favorite Song

"It is well with my Soul"

I may change my mind, but as of today's date this wonderful song written in 1873 still brings tears to my eyes. The first time this song really grabbed me was at the Montrose, PA Bible Conference probably in the summer of 1955. At that conference Al Smith told the story of the composer Horatio G. Spafford and the tragic events that led his composition of the words. The 2nd verse seems so appropiate for this season... "My sin, O the bliss of this glorious tho't. My Sin, not in part but the whole. Is nailed to the Cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord O my soul". Music by Phillip Bliss and his life is worth researching for those interested.

My all-time favorite Sign

"My God's not dead....Sorry about yours".

This sign was seen by me while serving in the US Army in El Paso, TX 1966-68. It was in a small church in a very poor area of that city and the "God is Dead" doctrine was in all the theological discussions of that day.