Patterico's Pontifications

7/15/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 60 and More

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the eighth Sunday after Pentecost, and I have a lot of music for you today — not just Bach. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort” (O eternity, you word of thunder):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 6:14-29.

John the Baptist Beheaded

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

Others said, “He is Elijah.”

And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”

But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”

For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.

At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Bach never directly addressed the beheading of John the Baptist in his cantatas. But his cantata is a dialogue between allegorical figures representing the fear of death (sung by the alto) and the hope of salvation (sung by the tenor). Hope wins out.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are the words of the final chorale, “Es ist genug” (It is enough), heard at 14:50:

It is enough:
Lord, if it pleases You,
then release me!
My Jesus comes;
good night now, o world!
I journey to heaven’s house,
I go there securely in peace,
my great suffering remains behind.
It is enough.

The setting of the chorale was an inspiration for part of Alban Berg’s violin concerto:

Listen around 19:40 and you’ll clearly hear the rising whole tones in the orchestra and then the violin.

The cantata also quotes the Book of Revelation in a meaningful reflection on death and hope:

Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben, von nun an.
Wohlan!
Soll ich von nun an selig sein:
So stelle dich, o Hoffnung, wieder ein!
Mein Leib mag ohne Furcht im Schlafe ruhn,
Der Geist kann einen Blick in jene Freude tun.

This means:

Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord, from henceforth.
All right!
If I shall be blessed from now on:
o hope, reappear to me!
My body may rest without fear in sleep,
while the spirit can cast a glance upon that joy.

It is impossible for me to read the words “Selig sind die Toten” without sharing with you portions of Brahms’s Requiem. Let’s start with the passage that quotes those same words:

The words sung here are from Revelation 14:13:

Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herrn sterben, von nun an. Ja, der Geist spricht, daß sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit; denn ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach.

This means:

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

And here is the gorgeous opening movement, opening with the same words: “Selig sind” (Blessed are…). If this opening movement does not hook you on the piece, nothing can.

The words sung here are from Matthew 5:4:

Selig sind, die da Leid tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden.

Which means:

Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.

Reflections on hope, for a day when the Gospel passage is filled with death. In Christ, there is always hope.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

7/8/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 126

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the seventh Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (Sustain us, Lord with your word).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 6:1-13.

A Prophet Without Honor

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

The cantata is based on Martin Luther’s hymn of the same name: “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort.” The basic melody of the hymn can be heard in this simple piano harmonization:

The text of today’s piece is available here. Piece 5, a recitative, contains these words:

Thus Your word and truth will be revealed
and made manifest in the highest radiance,
since You watch over Your church,
since You make the teaching of Your holy word
fruitful with blessing;
and if You turn to us as our Helper,
then in peace
the abundance of blessing will be granted to us.

Wherever God’s word is preached, the truth will triumph.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

7/1/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 109

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:26 am

It is the sixth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben” (I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 5:21-43.

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The text of today’s piece is available here. The final chorus contains these words:

Whoever hopes in God and trusts in Him,
will never be put to shame;
for whoever builds on this rock,
although at the moment he be beset
by many misfortunes, yet I have never seen
those people fail
who rely on God’s consolation;
He helps all His faithful ones.

Trust in God, and He will help you. This passage, about Jesus healing a child thought lost, speaks to me deeply on this Sunday. Yesterday a friend sent me this passage from Psalm 34:

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Amen.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

6/24/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 81

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fifth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?” (Jesus sleeps, what shall I hope for?)

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 4:35-41.

Jesus Calms the Storm

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

The text of today’s piece is available here. The cantata is a perfect musical companion to the Gospel reading, in which the sleeping Jesus awakens to calm the storm and protect those who believe in Him.

Jesus sleeps, what can I hope for?

. . . .

Quiet, heaving sea!
Be silent, storm and wind!
Your bounds are set for you,
so that my chosen child
will never suffer mishap.

O joy to me, my Jesus speaks a word,
my helper is awake,
so must the storm’s waves, the night of misfortune
and all trouble disappear.

Under your protection
I am safe from the storms
of all enemies.
Let Satan rage,
let the enemy fume,
Jesus stands with me.
Whether now it thunders and flashes,
whether sin and Hell terrify,
Jesus will protect me.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

6/17/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 188

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich habe meine Zuversicht” (I have placed my confidence).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 4:26-34.

The Parable of the Growing Seed

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

The text of today’s piece is available here. The Gospel reading says that even when evidence of the Kingdom of God is as small and difficult to see as a mustard seed, we can place our trust and confidence in it. Similarly, the cantata says:

I have placed my confidence
in my faithful God,
there my hope rests firmly.

. . . .

Though He might conceal His love,
yet His heart secretly thinks upon it,
since He can never withdraw it;

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

6/10/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 76, Part 2

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:59 am

It is the third Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens are telling the glory of God). This half-hour cantata provided the music for last Sunday as well, with Part 1 heard last Sunday, and Part 2 heard today:

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 3:20-35.

Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

The text of today’s piece is available here.

Love, Christians, through your deeds!
Jesus died for his brothers,
and they die again for each other,
since He has bound them together.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

6/3/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 76, Part 1

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the second Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens are telling the glory of God). This half-hour cantata will provide the music for this Sunday and the next, with Part 1 heard today, and Part 2 heard next week. Here is Part 1:

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 2:23-3:6.

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It includes these words, which describe how God looks after the welfare of humans:

Thus God does not leave Himself unwitnessed!
Nature and grace speak to all mankind:
God has indeed done all this,
so that the heavens move
and spirits and bodies stir themselves.
God Himself has leaned down to you
and calls to you through countless messengers:
rise up, come to My feast of love!

. . . .

Indeed with You Yourself fed and quenched
and given Your spirit,
which continually hovers in our souls.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/27/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 174

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is Trinity Sunday. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte” (I love the Highest with my entire being).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 3:1-17.

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 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.

We remember Nicodemus from John’s passion, from the reading on Good Friday.

We already had the last four verses of this reading, including the famous “for God so loved the world” passage, two months ago, on the fourth Sunday in Lent. If a guy in a rainbow wig (now serving life in prison, per JVW) thought this was important enough passage to take to all the sporting events, so it can’t hurt us to see it twice. Now we have what leads up to it in the Gospel reading, along with a musical offering to give deeper meaning to the words.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here the words for the opening aria, and the beginning of the recitative, including the famous line: “God so loved the world!”

2. Aria A

I love the Highest with my entire being,
He also has the greatest love for me.
God alone
shall be my soul’s treasure,
in which my eternal source of goodness lies.

3. Recitative T

O love, which none other resembles!
O priceless ransom!
The Father has given his child’s life
over to death on behalf of sinners
and all of these, who heaven’s kingdom
had taken lightly and lost,
are elected to blessedness.
God so loved the world!

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/20/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 226

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the Day of Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach piece, a motet, is “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf” (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

. . . .

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are all the words, which celebrate the Holy Spirit:

1. Chorus

The Spirit gives aid to our weakness. For we do not know for what we should pray, what is proper; but the Spirit itself intercedes for us in the best way with unutterable sighs. He, however, who examines hearts, He knows what the Spirit’s intention is, since it intercedes for the saints according to that which pleases God.

2. Chorale

You holy fire, sweet comfort,
now help us joyfully and confidently
to remain constantly in Your service,
although trouble is not driven away from us!
O Lord, through Your strength prepare us
and sharpen the dullness of the flesh,
so that we might battle here nobly,
pressing to you through death and life.
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

The beginning of the chorale contains words from Martin Luther’s Pentecostal hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/13/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 100

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

It is the seventh Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does is done well).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:9-17:

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

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

What God does is well done,
His will remains righteous;
however he begins my affairs,
I will silently keep to Him.
He is my God,
who in need
knows well how to sustain me;
therefore I let Him alone rule.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1969 secs.