The Holy Trinity According to Bach

A standard joke among seminarians and first-year priests is that the "newbie" is traditionally assigned the sermon on Trinity Sunday, as any attempt to explain the Holy Trinity ("three in one and one in three") always ends up in a revolving circle. Musicologists in the organ world have also attempted to correlate Trinitarian symbolism in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach with respect to key signatures, time signatures, and musical forms. Many believe that Bach’s Trinitarian... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Wednesday, May 27, 2015
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What's in a (Tune) Name...

One of the great Holy Spirit hymns in The Hymnal 1982  is "Come down, O Love divine," with its tune Down Ampney  composed by the English master Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). We sing this hymn most Pentecost Sundays, as the text extols our desire for the Holy Spirit to burn within us. This text is captivating, with its vivid images of verse: freely burning, kindling holy flame, heat consuming, glorious light, path illumining. The text originated as the poem  Discendi amor santo... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Wednesday, May 20, 2015
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The Composer Who Listened to Birds

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was a major French composer of the 20th century. He was a devout Roman Catholic, and his music was greatly influenced by his faith with respect to style, introspection, spirituality and use of chant. He traveled extensively worldwide, and he incorporated everything into his work, from Japanese melodies to birdsong (he was a learned ornithologist), to attempts to capture colors in sound. Beyond the simple musical scale, he used his own conceived "modes of... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Tuesday, May 12, 2015
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A Joyful Noise!

After a spirit-filled weekend of art, writing, and music in the "Alleluia Be Our Measure" sacred arts festival, we regrouped on Sunday morning for what I like to call "regular church," which turned out to be anything but regular. Following a Sunday morning adult forum in which our guest clinicians again defined the sacred in a discussion of art, writing and music, we celebrated Choir Appreciation Sunday, the one Sunday each year when our parish says thank you to our choirs for their hard... Read More
Posted by Cara Modisett at Wednesday, May 6, 2015
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