Patterico's Pontifications

4/18/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 134

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:51 am



It is the third Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß” (A heart that knows its Jesus is living).

Today’s Gospel reading is another record of the appearance of Jesus among the living. Luke 24:36b-48:

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. Number 4, a duet aria, contains these words:

the Savior appears and comforts us again
and through Himself strengthens the struggling Church

Number 5, a recitative, has these words:

May your Hand enclose us,
so that we behold your powerful potency,
which your death and victory has earned us,
and that now, through your Resurrection,
a person does not die, even when he dies in the world,
and that through this we enter into Your glory.
Whatever is in us exalts You, great God,
and praises Your mercy and love;
your Resurrection makes them new again,
your great victory makes us free from the enemy
and brings us to life;
Therefore let thanks and praise be given to You.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

4/11/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 42

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:48 am



It is the second Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats” (On the evening, however, of the same Sabbath).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 20:19-31:

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening chorus comes straight from the Gospel passage:

On the evening, however, of the same Sabbath, when the disciples had gathered and the door was locked out of fear of the Judeans [persecution], Jesus came and walked among them.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

4/9/2021

“Layla” Outro: Stolen

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 8:29 am



You learn something new every day.

If you’ve not heard this before, it’s likely the most amazing thing you will hear all day:

Ignore the vocal line and focus on the piano part and the harmony. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it was stolen for the outro of “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton’s band at the time). It was famously used in “Goodfellas.”

Rita Coolidge has spoken about this.

Coolidge says in her memoir Delta Lady (via the Miami Herald): “We played the song for Eric Clapton in England. I remember sitting at the piano in Olympic Studios while Eric listened to me play it. Jim and I left a cassette of the demo, hoping of course that he might cover it.”

She “largely forgot about it” after that – until she heard Layla after she and [Jim] Gordon had split up. “I was infuriated,” she remembers.

“What they had clearly done was take the song Jim and I had written, jettisoned the lyrics and tacked it to the end of Eric’s song. It was almost the same.”

Coolidge approach Clapton’s manager at the time, Robert Stigwood. But she says she was told: “You’re going to go up against the Robert Stigwood Organisation? Who do you think you are? You’re a girl singer.”

She adds: “There was no way Jim could have forgotten we’d written the song together. And I don’t think Eric could have, either.”

In 2011, Derek And The Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock supported Coolidge’s version of events, saying in an interview: “Jim took the melody from Rita’s song and didn’t give her credit for writing it. Her boyfriend ripped her off. I knew – but nobody would listen to or believe me.”

She could try to sue Gordon, I guess . . . except that he went on to become the police commissioner of Gotham “has been in prison since murdering his mother in a psychotic incident in 1983.” But what if she sued Clapton? Well, if she sued for copyright infringement and it went to trial in L.A., a jury would rule against her as long as Clapton testified and the jury thought he’d throw them a party afterwards as a reward. (Yes, I’m still bitter about the “Stairway to Heaven” verdict.)

Thefts and imitations can be a confounding thing. In the “Stairway to Heaven” case, I have had many people tell me they don’t hear the similarity to “Taurus,” the Spirit song that Led Zeppelin stole. I don’t see how anyone could miss it.

Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit on a 1968 tour — the same year Taurus was released. But Robert Plant testified that he hadn’t heard the song — an obvious lie, in my view — and a star-struck jury bought it. (I never heard whether they got their party. I don’t think they did.)

You can tell I am convinced the beginning of “Stairway to Heaven” was stolen. Yet Rick Beato, who knows his music, has this (in my view totally unconvincing) defense of Led Zeppelin as simply using a common line cliche.

Similarly, I was stunned the day I listened to the end of Dvorak’s “Dumky Trio” and heard the theme to “E.T.”

But when I blogged about that in 2007, I noted that a friend of mine who is a musical expert had advised me to go easy on the criticism of Williams, as borrowing is common in classical music. I am a genuine admirer of John Williams, but I think it’s fair to note that some of his music is clearly derivative of other music (think Darth Vader’s theme and “Mars” from Holst’s “The Planets” (more here) as one of many examples.) But Williams did add a lot of value to the stuff he borrowed from, and is a giant among musicians, in my view.

All that said, Jim Gordon absolutely stole from Rita Coolidge, and she deserves credit.

4/5/2021

A Belated Happy Easter, Plus, Sunday Monday Music : Bach Cantata BWV 31

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:50 am



I hope everyone had a great Easter. I spent yesterday driving back home, walking dogs, and making phone calls, and never got around to putting up an Easter post. For which I feel especially bad. I want to make up for it by putting up the post I would have put up if I had had my head in the game. The title of the cantata is “Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret” (Heaven laughs! Earth exults).

Yesterday’s Gospel reading is Mark 16:1-8, and since we’re still in the Easter season, it can’t hurt to contemplate it again today:

Jesus Has Risen

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening chorus is translated as follows:

Heaven laughs! Earth exults
and all she bears in her lap;
the Creator lives! The Highest triumphs
and is freed from the bonds of death.
He who has selected the grave for rest,
the Holy One, can not be corrupted.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

3/28/2021

Sunday Music: Bach’s St. Mark Passion (Reconstruction), BWV 247

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 5:16 pm



It is Palm Sunday, the day when the passion story is read in its entirety. Today’s music is Bach’s St. Mark Passion, BWV 247 — a work available in reconstruction:

The Gospel today is the Passion according to St. Mark: Mark 14:1-15:47. It’s long, so I’ll tuck the rest of the post in the extended entry.

(more…)

3/21/2021

Sunday Music: Stabat Mater, BWV 1083

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:54 am



It is the fifth Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s piece is “Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden” (Cancel, Highest, my sins), an adaptation of a Stabat Mater by Pergolesi.

Today’s Gospel reading is John 12:20-33:

Jesus Predicts His Death

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

The text is available here and contains these words:

Let me feel the joy and pleasure,
let me gladly sound the triumph,
when the cross me hard doth press.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

3/14/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 68

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:44 am



It is the fourth Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” (God so loved the world).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 3:14-21:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and contains these words:

God so loved the world,
that He gave us His Son.
Whoever gives himself to Him in faith
shall afterwards live with Him eternally.
Whoever believes that Jesus was born for him,
will never be lost,
and no sorrow will trouble him
who loves God and also His Jesus.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

3/7/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 102

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:45 am



It is the third Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben” (Lord, Your eyes look for faith).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 2:13-22:

Jesus Clears the Temple Courts

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and contains these words:

Lord, Your eyes look for faith! You strike
them, but they do not feel it; you plague
them, but they do not improve. Their
countenance is harder than a rock and they
will not turn themselves around.

And the first recitative begins in this way:

Where is the reflection that God polished for us,
when the perverted will sets itself against Him?

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

2/28/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 56

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 11:01 am



It is the second Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen” (I will gladly carry the Cross):

When I first published this version of this piece three years ago, I said:

The performance features Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, a nice choice for a cantata composed entirely for the bass (at least until the final chorale). Fischer-Dieskau’s intelligence and uniquely recognizable voice make this a very special performance. . . . It’s hard for me to listen to this man sing without chills running down my spine. What greater evidence could there be of God’s existence than a piece like this, and a voice like his to sing it?” I continue to feel the same way.

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 8:31-38:

Jesus Predicts His Death

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The Way of the Cross

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

As I said in 2018:

These are words that stick with you long after the reading is done, and the very title of the cantata shows it to be a perfect pairing with the reading. For a reading in which Jesus says: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must … take up their cross and follow me,” no music could accompany the message better than a cantata titled “I will gladly carry the Cross.”

The words stick with me enough that I believe they will make an appearance in today’s edition of my newsletter.

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and the opening aria contains these words:

I will gladly carry the Cross,
it comes from God’s dear hand,
and leads me, after my troubles,
to God, in the promised land.
There at last I will lay my sorrow in the grave,
there my Savior himself will wipe away my tears.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

2/21/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 178

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:54 am



It is the first Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält: (Where God the Lord stands with us not):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:9-15, and describes Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan:

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Jesus Announces the Good News

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and contains these words:

Where God the Lord does not dwell with us,
when our enemies rage,
and He does not conclude our affairs
high above there in heaven,
where He is not the Guardian of Israel
and thwarts Himself the deceit of the enemy,
then all is lost for us.

. . . .

The enemies are all in Your hand,
together with all their thoughts;
their attacks are known to You, Lord,
help only that we do not waver.
Reason sets itself against faith,
and will not trust in the future,
when You Yourself will comfort.

Heaven and also the earth
are established by You, Lord God;
let Your light become bright for us,
and our heart be ignited
into the proper love of Your faith,
constant to the end.
Let the world ever grumble.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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