Patterico's Pontifications

12/24/2018

Music for Christmas Eve: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (Plus Bonus Music!)

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 pm



It is Christmas Eve. Today’s Bach piece is his Christmas Oratorio:

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 2:1-14, (15-20). I usually use the New International Version for Gospel readings, but I’ll be relying on the King James Version for this passage, for reasons I will explain:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

When I sang in the Sage Chapel Choir (an institution that has unfortunately since been disbanded) at Cornell University, the choir was led by the late Donald Patterson. He would read this passage at the Christmas Eve service, and in his gravelly bass voice he would put a particular aggrieved sort of emphasis on the word “taxed.” As if it was an outrage that all the world should be taxed. I’ll never forget his voice reading those words, and so I cannot sanction the New International Version’s interpretation of the passage as “Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” Where’s the fun in that??

Similarly, Professor Patterson’s voice would shake with drama on the words “sore afraid” in this line: “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” I will not be replacing that language with “and they were terrified.” Sorry not sorry.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains (among many passages) these words:

Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit,
dass ein Gebot von dem Kaiser Augusto ausging,
dass alle Welt geschätzet würde.

Which translates as:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

My italics. I raise a glass to you, Professor Patterson!

I’m going to give you a couple of bonus pieces of music this evening. The first goes with Luke’s words quoting the angel of the Lord: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Here is Handel’s aria “For unto us a child is born” from Messiah:

And as a final bonus, here’s Jay Semko singing his quirky version of his song “It’s Christmas Eve”:

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Where We Stand

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:02 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here’s where we stand regarding the wall and the shutdown, according to those with vested interests. Vested interests does not necessarily mean in the best interest of the country.

From President Trump:

Untitled

From Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer (via Seung Min Kim)

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(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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