Patterico's Pontifications

1/13/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 123

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:06 pm



It is the Baptism of Our Lord. Today’s Bach cantata is “Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen” (Dearest Emmanuel, duke of the pious).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:15-17, 21-22:

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

. . . .

The Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

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

If storms rage,
Jesus sends me from above
rescue and light.

. . . .

You, Jesus, You are mine, and I am Yours;
I will prepare myself for You away from the world;
You shall be in my heart and my mouth.
My entire life
shall be dedicated to You,
until one day I am laid in the grave.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

1/6/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Christmas Oratorio, Parts 5 and 6 (BWV 248)

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



It is the Epiphany of Our Lord. Today’s Bach music is Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, parts 5 and 6.

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 2:1-12:

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The text of today’s piece is available here (Part 5) and here (Part 6). It contains these words:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the Jewish lands at the time of King Herod, behold, there came sages from the east towards Jerusalem and said:

Where is the new-born King of the Jews?
Seek Him within my breast,
He lives here, to His and my delight!

. . . .

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and with him all of Jerusalem.

. . . .

And he had all the high priests and interpreters of Scripture among the people gathered together, and inquired of them where Christ was supposed to be born. And they answered him: In Bethlehem in the Jewish lands: for thus it is written through the Prophets: and you, Bethlehem, in the Jewish lands, are by no means the least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come the leader to me, who shall be a Lord over my people Israel.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/30/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 154

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



It is the first Sunday after Christmas. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren” (My dearest Jesus is lost).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 2:41-52:

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

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

My beloved Jesus is missing:
O word which brings me despair,
O sword, which thrusts through my soul,
O word of thunder in my ears.

. . . .

You must go to Him
in His Father’s house, into his temple;
There He is visible in his Word,
there He will refresh you in the sacrament

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/25/2018

Merry Christmas!

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



Merry Christmas to all Patterico readers!

Here is some music for the occasion. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I know, expressing a beautiful sentiment: Jay Semko’s “Asleep in the Loving Arms of God”:

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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.]

12/23/2018

Sunday Music: Bach’s Magnificat, BWV 243

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



It is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today’s Bach piece is a concert performance of one of Bach’s most popular choral works: his setting of the Latin “Magnificat.”

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 1:39-45, (46-55):

Mary Visits Elizabeth

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It is the Latin setting of Mary’s song quoted above: the “Magnificat.” It opens with the Latin sentence: “Magnificat anima mea Dominum.” This translates as the first sentence of Mary’s song: “My soul magnifies the Lord.” After the end of Mary’s song, Bach’s setting closes with these words:

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto,
sicut erat in principio
et nunc et in saecula saeculorum,
Amen.

Which translates as:

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and for ever and ever,
Amen.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/16/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 136

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



It is the third Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz” (Examine me, God, and know my heart).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:7-18:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

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

Search me, God, and determine my heart; test me and determine what I think!

Alas, that the curse, which strikes the earth there,
also hits the heart of these people!
Who can hope for good fruit,
where this curse reaches even to the soul,
so that it brings the thorns of sin
and bears the pricks of blasphemy.
Yet often the children of hell wish
to represent themselves as angels of light;
so that among these corrupted beings
grapes might be gleaned from these thorns .
A wolf might conceal himself with a pure wool cloak,
yet a day will dawn,
which will be to you, you hypocrites, a terror,
indeed unbearable.

A day will come,
when the Hidden One will judge,
before which hypocrisy may well tremble.
For the wrath of His vengeance will annihilate
what hypocrisy and deceit fashion.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/9/2018

Sunday Afternoon Music: A Selection from Handel’s Messiah

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 12:36 pm



As you will remember from my Bach cantata post this morning, today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.

And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

With that passage being today’s message, I did not want to let the day pass without sharing with you this selection from Handel’s Messiah:

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry moutain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

Note at places like 1:19 when the tenor sings “the crooked straight.” The melodic line for the word “crooked” is crooked; the melodic line for the word “straight” is straight (a single note, held).

Handel’s Messiah will be performed on December 16 at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. I’ll be there.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 132

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



John the Baptist

It is the second Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn” (Prepare the paths, prepare the road).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

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

Prepare the paths, prepare the road!
Prepare the paths,
and make the flagstones
in faith and life
completely level for the Highest,
Messiah approaches!

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/2/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 70

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



It is the first Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!” (Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!).

A new church year begins today, and we are now in Year C of the Revised Common Lectionary. Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 21:25-36:

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

“Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words, telling followers of Christ that they need not fear the day of judgment, when the Son of Man comes in his great glory to judge the wicked and the righteous:

Be afraid, obdurate sinners!
A day dawns,
from which no one can hide:
it rushes upon you with stern judgment,
O! sinful race,
to your eternal sorrow.
Yet for you, chosen children of God,
it is the beginning of true joy.

. . . .

Indeed the time is here
when God’s Son will come
in His great glory
to judge the wicked and the righteous.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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