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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Musical Interlude

For this first Sunday of Advent 2013, Of the Father's Love Begotten, a poem paired with the medieval plainchant melody Divinum mysterium:

Another arrangement of the same Christmas carol:

Please take a few moments to consider this meditation for today.


  1. What a perfect way to start the new month and to begin the march toward our Savior's Birth!

    Both versions are equally beautiful, and so are the warmly colorful paintings and photographs that go with them.

    I do miss hearing treble voices in the second version by Robert Resch sung by the choir of Concordia Theological Seminary. The splendid organ part, however, makes up for it.

    As a lifelong music scholar and performer who got his start in an Episcopal boy's choir, and started playing the organ for church services at the age of 12, I feel qualified to say that while the singing in both versions is solidly accurate, well-balanced among the different voices, and beautifully on pitch and in tune, I wish the singers had been taught to sing with more flow. As-it-is-each-and-e-ver-y-syl-la-ble-is-clear-ly-e-nun-ci-a-ted-but-the-near-ly-e-qual-em-pha-sis-on-each-and-e-ve-ry-note leaves something to be desired, because the phrasing lacks sweep and direction.

    A better term for what's missing would be "dynamic gradation." It's still a joy to hear music of this high quality accurately sung under any circumstances.

    We musicians are never completely satisfied with anything, because we believe in striving for absolute Perfection, which is of course, an unattainable ideal. ;-)

    I wonder what would happen to society, if music luke this was piped into McDonalds, the malls, the coffee shops, restaurants and waiting rooms, instead of the miserable howling, bawling, whining, thumping, droning GARBAGE that seems inescapable in all public venues?

    It's hard to believe in this day and age, but we used to sing beautiful things like this, and selections from great oratorios in our parish church choir -- and for the annual Christmas Concert at the local high school as well. Our high school Christmas celebration more closely resembled a church service than a concert. We never sang "light" music or silly secular stuff like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or even pleasant cozy cocktail lounge-like selections such as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire at Christmas.

    Funny! There were lots of Jewish kids in our town, and we never heard a single word of complaint about our very Christian musical orientation. In fact many Jewish kids were eager to compete for a place in our choir, which was highly selective, and recognized statewide for its excellence.

    I think their parents knew they were getting a wonderful cultural historical perspective, because we sang music that spanned eight-hundred years of musical development. They rightly saw it as a significant part of their children's education. Well-educated Jews often have a greater appreciation for the best aspects of Christian culture than many who call themselves Christians. Ironic, isn't it?

    Few realize today that we would never have had Palestrina, Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, et al. if it were not for the dominant influence of the Church.

    The Church was the Mother, the Cradle and the Foundation for the development of the miracle that is Western Music.

    Thank you so much for these thoughtful selections.


    1. FT,
      Thank you for that excellent comment! I appreciate it.

      Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time looking for versions with good phrasing and good sound quality as well as appropriate images that I thought suitable for the first day of Advent 2013. These two versions were the best versions that I could find in the time that I had.

      Just a few minutes ago, I set up our little tree. I've yet to put on an extra strand of lights; doing so will have to wait until after giving a piano lesson and making a quick grocery-store run this morning.

  2. It's positively transcendent and I am so glad you let me know this was here. Thanks, Always, what a real blessing. And now I have purchase one of them and can't decide. I thought I liked the first, but the more I listened to the second, I thought "no, this is it..." Unsure here :-) Shouldn't we always have this type of problem?!! Happy First Advent, my friend! and to all your readers. xxx

    1. Z,
      Glad the you enjoyed these selections so much!

      I fell in love with "Of the Father's Love Begotten" the first time that I heard it at a concert at the Kennedy Center or, perhaps, at the National Cathedral.

  3. Anon-Anon, please, please, pull your head out of your ass and at least post your garbage in the right place. How can some retarded half-wit call someone else an idiot when they can't even post a comment that's relevant to the post or thread?

    And as long as we're on the subject of repeating lies:"if you like your insurance policy you can keep it, If you like your doctor you can keep them "- and on and on Ad infinitum.

    1. Warren,
      I just saw the comment via notification. Sheesh.

  4. Hey
    Thanks for expressing your love this Sunday.. Anything else you have to say before I puke!

    1. By the way, my last comment was meant for Anonymous Anonymous

    2. I hate to be the one to have to tell you, but Ben's last name is GHAZI not Gazi.

      G-H-A-Z-I! Please remember it, and stop magnifying error.

      You may not like to think so, but these distinctions are important.

      Ichabod Crane

  5. That was lovely! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thanks for linking to this from Z's blog. I've never heard it before and am quite moved with gratitude to listen and hear the words.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Thank you, AOW. The music was beautiful, and I enjoyed the devotion on love.

  9. Great Post Always On Watch! I also noticed "Lester Liberalmann" aka djtyg, Irl Hudnutt and a host of other aliases has come by to fling his monkey poop. If he gets you quite irritated, don't hesitate to come by "Liberalmann Is A Dingbat" or "mystere's moonbat slayer club" to give me a heads up. I'm ready to deliver him a "Rikishi Stinkface" via myself or "Rattrapper" any time. Merry Christmas!

    1. Moonbat Slayer,
      Great to see you here! I have seen some of your comments at Leticia's site.

      I shall definitely notify you if I want to slam Liberalmann on my behalf. I see that you have some suitable graphics. **smile**


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