Patterico's Pontifications

5/6/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 172

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

It is the sixth Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!” (Ring out, you songs; sound, you strings!)

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

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit -— fruit that will last -— and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The words are suffused with references to love:

Whoever loves Me will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.

. . . .

O most beloved Love, who are so sweet,
the fullness of all delight,
I faint when I lack You.
– Take the kiss of grace from Me. –
Be welcome to me in faith,
highest Love, come within!

. . . .

Come, Holy Spirit, Lord God,
fill with the goodness of Your grace
the hearts, wills, and minds of Your faithful.
Ignite Your burning love in them.

By the way, if you’re looking for a more upbeat, rock-oriented message exhorting folks to love one another, check out The Ballad of Reginald Denny by VeG featuring Parthenon Huxley.

Love one another!

And happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

4/29/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 148

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

It is the fifth Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens” (Bring to the Lord the honor due His name).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:1-8:

The Vine and the Branches

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The fifth movement, a recitative, contains these words:

Stay also, my God, in me
and give me Your Spirit,
which shall govern me according to Your word,

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

4/22/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 85

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

It is the fourth Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Ich bin ein guter Hirt” (I am a Good Shepherd).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 10:11-18:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here and complements the Gospel reading well:

I am a Good Shepherd; a good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.

Jesus is a good shepherd;
for He has already given His life
for His sheep,
so that no one will steal them from Him.
Jesus is a good shepherd.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

4/15/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 134

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

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

4/8/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 42

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 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 — pay close attention, NPR reporters! — reminds us that Jesus walked the Earth for 40 days after his resurrection. John 3:14-21:

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 cantata was composed by Bach for the first Sunday after Easter. 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.

As always, it’s my hope that the expression of the words in music will heighten your appreciation of the Gospel passage, and ideally make it even more meaningful to you.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

4/1/2018

Easter Music: Bach Cantata BWV 31

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

It is Easter! The title of today’s cantata is “Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret” (Heaven laughs! Earth exults).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 16:1-8:

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!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

3/30/2018

Music for Good Friday: Bach’s St. John Passion BWV 245: Herr, unser Herrscher

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:15 am

It is Good Friday. Today’s music is the opening chorus of Bach’s St. John Passion: “Herr, unser Herrscher” (Lord, our ruler).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 18:1-19:42, describing Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion:

Jesus Arrested

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Peter’s First Denial

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

“If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Jesus Before Pilate

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The text of the chorus is this:

Lord, our ruler, Whose fame
In every land is glorious!
Show us, through Your passion,
That You, the true Son of God,
Through all time,
Even in the greatest humiliation,
Have become transfigured!

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

3/25/2018

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

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

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 that is lost, but it is available in reconstructions. Here is one such reconstruction, by Eichelberger, based on the revised libretto from 1744:

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…)

3/18/2018

Sunday Music: Stabat Mater, BWV 1083

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

It is the fifth Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s piece is “Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden” (Cancel, Highest, my sins). It’s an adaptation of a Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. This is a longer one, and you will be forgiven if you can’t make it through the whole thing. That said, if you listen to the beginning, you may be captivated enough to stick it out.

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. Verse 10 is translated as follows:

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

The words that match triumph, joy, and pleasure with bearing the cross echo the Gospel reading, which speaks of the coming glorification of the Son of Man when he loses his life.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

3/11/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 68

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 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 meshes perfectly with today’s Gospel reading, and the music is a perfect companion with which to contemplate the message. The text is available here. The opening chorus is translated as follows:

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.

If you close your eyes, you can almost see the guy with the giant rainbow afro standing behind me holding up the John 3:16 sign.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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