VOICE HIS Volume 1 - Number 1
Richard C. Resch
We believe that with our 2005 conference, “Luther on Music and Liturgy,” The Good Shepherd Institute truly came into its own. We now have six years of successful conferences, journals, and publications under our belt. We gratefully report that the response to all aspects of the recent conference was overwhelmingly positive, and this response was from attendees representing the broadest spectrum of the church that we have ever had in attendance. Deo Gracias!
So, The Good Shepherd Institute is very much alive—and it is growing! That means that significant and exciting things happen throughout the year. We need a means of communicating with you more than once a year at the November conference. Hence, we launch this, the first GSI newsletter, with plans for a second issue in August.
I cannot tell you how happy I am that Daniel Zager has agreed to serve as editor. Our newsletter has been named His Voice, with art design by Steve Blakey. In each issue we will recommend recent resources in the areas of pastoral theology and sacred music, thus providing yet another avenue by which The Good Shepherd Institute endeavors to help pastors and church musicians in their work. Kantor Kevin Hildebrand will direct you to new and recommended church music resources—choral music, organ music, and books, and Professor John Pless will do the same for new publications in the area of pastoral theology. Daniel Zager will provide recommendations for recent articles, books, and recordings in the area of church music, and the GSI Co-Directors will bring you the GSI news. We encourage you to download this newsletter and share it with friends. Send new email addresses for His Voice to HisVoice@ctsfw.edu. What is new since we met in November? Check out the GSI website! Our good friend, Connie Seddon,
has completed the enormous task of editing and preparing all seven volumes of “The Musical Heritage of the Church” from the Valparaiso University Church Music Series. Here you will find a feast of essays by all the leading church musicians in Lutheranism from 1944 to 1969. I believe that you will find their insights both enlightening and amazingly timely.
Also, check out the Sponsor Opportunities page on the GSI website. There you can read about three major projects currently underway at The Good Shepherd Institute. I will give you an update in the August issue of His Voice concerning these important new resources for the church.
Next year’s GSI November conference will have the theme: The History and Practice of Lutheran Service Book. The key leaders of this monumental project will be present to provide a historical and practical approach to the newest hymnal in Lutheranism. Lectures, practical break-outs, hymn festivals, and children’s choirs will help all to learn about the production of and the wonderful resources contained in the Lutheran Service Book.
By God’s grace—these are good and exciting times for The Good Shepherd Institute!
Kantor Richard C. Resch
THE GOOD SHEPHERD I
Pastoral Theology and Sacred Music for the Church
CHORAL MUSIC Recommended
by KEVIN HILDEBRAND
When Time Was Full, God Sent His Son (Music: Walter L. Pelz; Text: Stephen P. Starke). SATB, Congregation, Brass Quartet, Organ, Opt. Timpani. CPH 98-3831, $1.65
This setting is a powerful combination of text and tune, appropriate for Easter and its season. There are some similarities to “Our Paschal Lamb, Who Sets Us Free”—in overall style and spirit, in some melodic phrases, and even its comparison to Jonah and Christ. The well-crafted text, typical of Stephen Starke’s work, is full of other Scripture references and stirring imagery of death and resurrection, conquered Satan and conquering Christ. A hearty soprano descant and significant brass writing complement the setting. A reproducible insert page provides for inclusion of the congregation on the first and last stanzas. _______________________________________
Open Are Our Savior’s Lips
(Music: John Ferguson; Text: Chad L. Bird). SATB, Organ, Opt. Congregation. CPH 98-3824, $1.65
Commissioned for a church’s dedication of a carillon, both text and tune refer to bells—in the text’s “bells are chiming, ringing, pealing with the joy of life,” while complemented by the music’s imitation of pealing bells. The text itself is a feast of rich imagery and clearly confesses Christ and His love for His bride, the church. Musically, the piece is unique in that the tune shifts in mid-stanza from G minor to G major, along with occasional meter changes. The music is still very accessible for average choirs, and the part writing has a healthy balance between unison and SATB (with some divisi). Especially appropriate for All Saints’ Day and the end of the church year, and for funerals. _______________________________________
Arisen is Our Holy Lord
(Melchior Vulpius, ed. and arr. Kenneth T. Kosche). SATB, Brass Quartet, or Organ. CPH 98-3852, $1.60
Kenneth T. Kosche, has arranged the choir II part for brass quartet (or organ). Both the voice parts and the brass parts are homophonic and fairly predictable, without being tiresome, interspersed and concluding with sparkling alleluias. This would be an excellent introduction to late-Renaissance literature for choirs and congregations. Consider using this for Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, and throughout the Easter season. _______________________________________
Arise and Shine in Splendor
(Music: Heinrich Isaac, ed. and arr. Christopher Johns; Text: Martin Opitz). SATB, Opt. Keyboard. CPH 98-3842, $1.65
This is a new edition of a choral classic, perhaps unknown by many directors and congregations. It is highly recommended for choirs to have this piece in their choral library and to perform it. The text and tune are in TLH and LW, arranged in this homophonic Renaissance motet. The last phrase is a delightful combination of rhythms and melismas, providing some good musical teaching moments for the discerning choir director. For Epiphany and its season. _______________________________________
O Splendor of the Father’s Light
(Music: Sam Eatherton). SAB, Keyboard. CPH 98-3837, $1.50
This composition is an interesting coupling of St. Ambrose’s fourth-century text (translated by Gracia Grindal and found at LW 481) with a twenty-firstcentury musical setting by Dallas-based composer Sam Eatherton. His setting is a good example of SAB writing that sounds complete and has integrity. The melody and part writing has much stepwise motion, making learning easier. Some well-placed harmonic alterations add interest. Even choirs that typically sing SATB should consider well-written SAB settings such as this one. Especially appropriate for Epiphany and its season. _______________________________________
Choirs with limited resources will find this piece quite accessible. Originally written for double choir,
HIS Voice • February 2006
CHORAL MUSIC Recommended
Jesus, Sun of Life, My Splendor
(Music: George Frideric Handel; arr. Henry V. Gerike). TTBB, Organ, Optional Strings. CPH 98-3838, $1.80
The SATB setting of this chorale from Handel’s Brockes Passion has been around for many years (notably in Paul Bunjes’s edition), so this arrangement for men’s voices will be well-known to some choirs already. The voice parts are easy, and the organ arrangement lies in the hands and feet well. Using the string quartet parts (available electronically upon request) would be even better. The text is from the hymn, “Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness,” so this piece can get a lot of use with a men’s choir, as it could be sung each time the choir sings at the celebration of Holy Communion. _______________________________________
Our Father, Who in Heaven Reigns
(Music: Dietrich Buxtehude; arr. Don Petering). SB or TB, Opt. Two Violins, Opt. Cello, Organ. CPH 98-3814, $1.65
Don Petering has taken Buxtehude’s cantata movement, also in the CPH chestnut volume Wedding Blessings, and arranged it with a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer. Scored for SB or TB, this setting would work equally well with two soloists or a choir. Also add this work to your choir repertoire in preparation for the 300th anniversary of Buxtehude’s death in 2007. _______________________________________
Lord, Support Us All Day Long
(Music: Walter L. Pelz; Text: Stephen P. Starke). SATB, Organ, Opt. Congregation. CPH 98-3832, $1.50
This hymn text is a summary of the collects for Compline, paired with the Welsh tune GWALCHMAI. The tune is beautiful in its utter simplicity without being simplistic and can be very easily learned. Walter L. Pelz’s organ accompaniment and choral writing complements the tune in its simplicity. A reproducible congregational page can introduce this hymn to a congregation, perhaps as one of the new hymns to learn in preparation for Lutheran Service Book. _______________________________________ HIS Voice • February 2006
continued Know That the Lord Is God
(Music: George Frideric Handel; ed. William Braun). Two-part Mixed, 2 Treble Instruments, Continuo. CPH 98-3817, $1.75
There is a real need for good two-part mixed choral writing, and this setting of Psalm 100:3 is a fine example of such writing. (Much of the writing is imitative, making the men’s part extremely easy to learn—just repeat what the women sang.) This is a good introduction or example of polyphonic singing, appropriate for youth choirs as well as seasoned singers. There is one measure with a long melisma, with many sixteenth-notes and one pair of thirty-second notes, which looks more difficult than it actually sings. Two treble instruments complete the harmonies. _______________________________________
Cast Thy Burden upon the Lord
(Music: Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy; ed. Christopher Johns). SATB, Piano. CPH 98-3819, $1.50
This simple four-part hymn-tune setting from the oratorio Elijah is well within the grasp of most church choirs. Singers unfamiliar with Mendelssohn’s writing will enjoy his warm harmonies. The piano part is also easy, with block chords and arpeggios. One warning to pianists, however: be sure to play the sixteenth-note arpeggios in strict time, and not as freely-rolled chords. _______________________________________
by KEVIN HILDEBRAND
The Master Organ Works of Jan Bender, 1909–94,
ed. David Fienen (5 volumes) CPH 97-7098, 97-7099, 97-7100, 97-7101, 97-7102; $30.00 per volume.
A treasury of music is contained in this new collection. Organists of all ability levels will find much useful material, and are strongly encouraged to add these volumes to their libraries. While the collection is newly published, most of the music in it is not “new” to many organists, since these compositions have appeared in previously-published volumes, such as the several volumes of hymn introductions, or individual pieces in the classic Parish Organist series. However, since a generation or more has passed since the original publication of these older volumes, it is likely that many younger organists are unfamiliar with or do not own much, if any, of Bender’s works. But there are also several never-before-published works in this new collection, making it valuable as well to organists who already own some of Bender’s material. The collection is contained in five volumes, as follows: Vol. 1: Hymn preludes for manuals only Vols. 2 and 3: Hymn preludes including pedal, arranged alphabetically over two volumes Vol. 4: Chorale preludes, fantasias, and partitas Vol. 5: Three “triptychs” (almost entirely non-hymnbased material) Beginning organists will find vol. 1 most accessible, followed by vols. 2 and 3. Most of the material in vols. 1–3 are two pages in length, appropriate for service music or hymn introductions. The writing in vols. 4 and 5 is more advanced. Volume 4 also provides some hymn harmonizations.
Whether it is a short hymn setting or a substantial fantasia, Bender’s writing is always intelligent and well-crafted. Even a simple hymn tune such as WEM IN LEIDENSTAGEN (“Glory Be to Jesus”) is crafted into a master work, as the title of the series so aptly describes.
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One further note about price: At $30.00 per volume, and with about fifty compositions in vols. 1–3, for instance, the price really is a bargain. Arguably, there could be something played from this series every week, making this a useful investment both for the organist and for the congregation. _______________________________________
A Mighty Fortress is Our God: Reformation Suite for Trumpet and Organ in 7 Movements.
Robert Powell, based on the music of J. S. Bach. CPH 97-7142, $12.00
This suite will provide sturdy and useful material on this hymn tune, perfect for Reformation services. The writing is moderate to difficult, from a four-part chorale setting (with trumpet doubling the soprano) to an ambitious fugue. Two movements are for organ alone, making this suite useful even if an instrumentalist is unavailable (and for giving the trumpeter a needed break if performed in its entirety!). Several movements are based on Bach’s Cantata BWV 80 (Ein feste Burg). A very good trumpeter is required—notes written above the staff are plentiful. _______________________________________
Partita on NETTLETON, Charles Callahan. CPH 97-7121, $12.00
This partita is a welcome answer to a void in compositions on this tune, a new addition to some hymnals (e.g., located in Hymnal Supplement 98 as “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”). Those familiar with Callahan’s other well-constructed partitas will find similarities here. Eight varying movements will provide much useful material, even if organists choose not to learn every movement. The settings are short (six are only one page in length) and lie comfortably in the hands and feet (one movement is manuals only, and several movements have slow rhythmic movement in the pedals, making them accessible for novice organists as well). The neo-Romantic “Meditation” setting has some colorful harmonies on top of the pedal melody (played by a 2 ft. flute), closing the partita in a refreshingly reflective manner. _______________________________________ 4
ORGAN MUSIC Recommended
Introductions, Harmonizations, Accompaniments, Interpretations, Vols. I and 2, Jeffrey Blersch. CPH 97-7124 (vol. 1) and 97-7125 (vol. 2), $16.00 each.
The name of these volumes says it all in describing the contents. These settings are designed for congregational hymn singing . . . either for introducing the hymn or as harmonizations during congregational singing. These volumes provide organists who are not comfortable or knowledgeable about extemporizing at the keyboard a resource for playing something other than what is “right out of the hymnal.” Discerning players will probably find the alternate harmonizations more readily accessible than the introductions, which are often more aggressive in composition and structure. Dr. Blersch models well the connection between harmonizations and text of the hymn stanza, often designating the specific stanzas for which the setting is intended. _______________________________________
Musica Sacra, Vol. 4: Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, Wilbur Held. CPH 97-7132, $18.00
This continuation of a series of “easy hymn preludes” demonstrates that “easy” does not mean simplistic or uninteresting. Novice organists will appreciate the limited pedal writing with ample half notes and whole notes, playable with alternating feet. A few compositions are manuals only. The hymn tunes employed are a good mix of those in extremely common usage (EASTER HYMN, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” and ANTIOCH, “Joy to the World”) as well as tunes that are being enjoyed relatively recently in many congregations (GABRIEL’S MESSAGE, “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came”; BEACH SPRING, “Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness”). _______________________________________
Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken: Suite for Organ on AUSTRIA, Benjamin M. Culli. CPH 97-7148, $15.00
HIS Voice • February 2006
continued This is an ambitious, seven-movement suite on a tune for which little has been written. Some movements will provide the organist with a welcome challenge, such as the neo-Romantic (almost Reger-esqe) “Intrada.” Others (like the Baroque-style “Chorale” or “Etude” in 12/8) are for manuals only. The composer demonstrates a mastery of harmonic vocabulary, painting the music with many fresh sounds. _______________________________________
Passiontide Suite for Organ, Kenneth T. Kosche. CPH 97-7143, $15.00
This four-setting collection provides a hymn prelude for several days of Holy Week and Easter, namely, ST. THEODULPH (Palm Sunday), UBI CARITAS (Maundy Thursday), O MEIN JESU, ICH MUSS STERBEN (Good Friday), and GAUDEAMUS PARITER (Easter Sunday). Perhaps the plainsong melody of UBI CARITAS will be obscure to many, but the other tunes are commonly found in hymnals. Of particular recommendation is the trumpet tune on ST. THEODULPH (“All Glory, Laud, and Honor”), which presents the tune in an ornamented fashion, especially appropriate for a tune that is likely well-known in most congregations. _______________________________________
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today: An Organ Partita on EASTER HYMN,
William H. Bates. CPH 97-7053, $16.00
Since there is no lack of settings of this tune, it is refreshing to find interesting—and even quiet and reflective—settings of this common Easter hymn. Yes, there is a big introduction and a quite aggressive “Finale,” but perhaps the best setting is the slow and quiet “Meditation,” demonstrating that music on Easter Sunday can also be meaningfully quiet. This movement for two manuals and pedal presents the melody in a dialogue between swell and great divisions, quite beautiful when registered and played correctly. _______________________________________
READING AND LISTENING Recommended
by KEVIN HILDEBRAND, JOHN PLESS, and DANIEL ZAGER
James L. Brauer, Worship, Gottesdienst, Cultus Dei: What the Lutheran Confessions Say About Worship
(Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 304 pp. [CPH 53-1126, $29.99]
The Lutheran Confessions argue that faith is the highest worship of God, for faith receives what God gives. James Brauer, dean of the chapel at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, has provided students and pastors with an excellent map to the way that the Lutheran Confessions extol the gifts of Christ Jesus bestowed to create and sustain faith. A concise introduction examines the various traditions of Christian worship and demonstrates commonalities and contrasts with the Lutheran tradition. The teachings of the Book of Concord on worship, the Word, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, absolution, prayer, praise, and rites and ceremonies are organized in eight chapters. Each chapter concludes with a synopsis that summarizes the central confessional themes. A final chapter offers some suggestions for the application of these teachings in contemporary practice. Worship, Gottesdienst, Cultus Dei will aid the reader in grasping what the Lutheran Confessions actually assert regarding liturgy. I plan to use this book as a required text in the Liturgics I course here at Concordia Theological Seminary. It deserves a place in every pastor’s library as a basic reference book. [John Pless] _______________________________________
Christopher Boyd Brown, Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation (Harvard University Press, 2005), 292 pp. [$39.95]
HIS Voice • February 2006
Christopher Brown is an LCMS pastor serving as assistant professor of church history at the Boston University School of Theology. Brown has provided a detailed and scholarly study of the place of Lutheran hymns in church and home in the Reformation. In his study of church life in the German town of Joachimsthal, Brown demonstrates how Lutheran hymnody shaped a “shared religious culture” that engendered faithfulness to evangelical identity. [John Pless] _______________________________________
Hans Conrad Fischer, Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life in Pictures and Documents
(Augsburg Fortress, 2000), 190 pp. [$25.00]
This is a highly-recommended book for both the casual Bach admirer as well as the Bach scholar; a book at home on the living room coffee table as well as the student’s desk. Perhaps taking a cue from Bach’s directions for “a well-ordered church music,” this volume presents a well-ordered account of Bach’s life and work. Short chapters describe the various geographic venues of Bach’s life, with fascinating illustrations to bring the events and personalities to life. In addition to portraits of Bach and his family, numerous paintings and engravings of cityscapes, instruments, and patrons/employers abound. Ample quotations from Bach’s own commentary are included, bringing the Kantor’s own words to the reader. Particularly interesting is a genealogy and historical commentary of the Bach family, written by Bach himself in 1736. Hans Conrad Fischer skillfully weaves a narrative telling the story of Bach’s life, work, interactions, and society. The writing is intelligent, yet is presented with a minimum of technical musical jargon or analysis, making this account attractive also to readers with a minimal musical background. This new edition of the book includes a full-length CD compilation of Bach’s music, selected from throughout his lifetime of composition. (These are all excerpts from the Hänssler Classic complete recordings of Bach’s music, so the quality of performances is excellent.) The selections are representative of the various genres of Bach’s compositions—solo violin, harpsichord works, organ chorale preludes, free organ works, and Passion and Mass movements are all included.
A welcome theme throughout the commentary is the inseparable connection between Bach and Luther, and between Bach’s music and theology. Bach’s genius, dedication to the faith, and its fruition in his monumental musical output continue to make Bach a fascinating study and subject for church musicians. This book and CD continue to bring Bach into the lives and homes of readers of today—and tomorrow. [Kevin Hildebrand] _______________________________________ 6
READING AND LISTENING Recommended
Ronald K. Rittgers, “Luther on Private Confession,”
Lutheran Quarterly 19 (Autumn 2005), 312–31.
Ronald Rittgers, author of the 2004 book from Harvard University Press, The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience, and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Germany, examines Luther’s reforms of the practice of private confession and the ambiguity of the place of this practice in early Lutheranism. This is a solid historical study with implications for current pastoral practice. [John Pless] _______________________________________
Erik Routley, An English-Speaking Hymnal Guide,
edited and expanded by Peter W. Cutts (GIA, 2005), 198 pp. [GIA G-6477, $34.95]
HIS Voice • February 2006
This volume is a kind of handbook or hymnal companion to a wide array of English-language hymnals in common usage throughout the UK and North America. Like a hymnal companion, it lists information for 979 hymn texts: meter, information about the author and translator(s), which hymnals include the hymn, and other anecdotal information. This volume will prove interesting to both casual and formal students of hymnology. Since this book covers what are probably the most commonly-used hymns in English-language hymnals from many denominations, most of the hymns mentioned are not in any LCMS hymnal. (In fact, only LBW was included as a modern American Lutheran hymnal in this survey.) No significant distinctly Lutheran hymns, such as “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” or “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice” are included in this particular volume. Martin Luther is not ignored, however. For the record, “A Mighty Fortress,” “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come,” and “Out of the Depths I Cry to Thee” are also found in other denominational hymnals and are included in this volume. The student of hymnody thus realizes that hymnody is a larger study than one’s own church body, and it is worthwhile to be aware of and study hymns from beyond our own denominational and geographical borders. Another exceedingly valuable aspect of the book is the quite detailed essay on hymn meters at the beginning of the book. This reading would prove highly beneficial, as there is much more to meter than meets the eye or ear. [Kevin Hildebrand] _______________________________________
Erik Routley, A Panorama of Christian Hymnody,
edited and expanded by Paul A. Richardson (GIA, 2005), 708 pp. [G-6475, $55.00]
This companion volume to An English Speaking Hymnal Guide is exactly what its title describes. This resource provides a healthy survey of hymnody across history, denominations, geography, and religious movements. In this age where so much church music is subjugated into inadequate and ambiguous categories based upon tastes and preferences, it is also naïve to lump all hymnody into one category. This book subdivides the study of hymnody into thirty-two chapters, such as Medieval Latin hymns, Lutheran chorales of the Reformation, hymns of Watts and Wesley, and British and North American hymns of varying time periods (just to mention a few).
This book will prove eminently practical for those wishing to consider hymns from various times, places, and backgrounds, but who have neither the time nor resources to gather a mountain of individual hymnals and related primary sources. The editors have chosen approximately ten hymns per chapter, prefaced with some introductory comments, and then presented in a text-only format. In total, 982 hymns are included, some in both original language(s) and in English translations. Another benefit of this book is its pedagogical value as hymns are reviewed, compared, and contrasted. Obviously, the hymns included span a wide spectrum of denominations and religious backgrounds (and therefore, a wide spectrum of theological views.) For example, only five hymns by Luther and three by Gerhardt are included. However, it is good to be aware of and study even those hymns that are outside the covers of our own Lutheran hymnals, hymns that contain weak or questionable theology. In doing so, we continue to sharpen our skills in the art of making choices for what kind of song the church shall sing. This book can be of assistance in this lifelong practice. [Kevin Hildebrand] _______________________________________
READING AND LISTENING Recommended
Carl Schalk, “Friedrich Layriz: A Forgotten Influence on Congregational Singing in American Lutheranism,”
Cross Accent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians 13, no. 3 (2005): 29–36.
As the preeminent historian of Lutheran hymnody in nineteenth-century America, Carl Schalk contributes here an informative study of Friedrich Layriz (1808–1859), a German pastor and hymnologist who played an important role in “promoting the restoration of the rhythmic form of the chorale melodies for use in Lutheran congregations” (p. 34). His Kern des deutschen Kirchengesangs zum Gebrauch Evangelisch-Lutherischer Gemeinden und Familien (Core of the German church song for the use of Evangelical Lutheran congregations and families) was published in Germany in four volumes between 1844–1855. Schalk shows how the work of Layriz proved foundational for Lutheran hymnals in this country. The 1863 hymnal published in this country, Evangelisch-Lutherisches Choralbuch für Kirche und Haus, characterized its contents as the “most useful chorales of the Lutheran Church selected and printed without change from the Kern des deutschen Kirchengesangs of Dr. Layriz” (p. 33). Schalk notes that this collection and its later printings “was commended to the church by no less than C. F. W. Walther, who remarked on the role that hymnal played in promoting “fresh rhythmic singing” (p. 33). In this article Schalk provides a fascinating chapter in the history of nineteenthcentury Lutheran hymnody. [Daniel Zager] _______________________________________
Frank C. Senn, “The Challenge of Pentecostal Praise and Orthodox Theology,” Lutheran Forum 39 (Fall 2005): 16–24.
In another of his always insightful articles on the current landscape of worship practices in this country, Frank Senn focuses on the Pentecostal “praise and worship” service. Placing Pentecostalism in the context of postmodernism, Senn observes that while “Seeker services are truly ‘modern’; praise and worship services are truly postmodern” (p. 19). In discussing the practice of praise singing, he notes that “The praise and worship emphasis is on our service HIS Voice • February 2006
to God rather than God’s service to us . . . because in fact the sacrifice of praise and worship eclipses the Word and the sacraments in importance” (p. 20). With respect to contemporary Christian music, Senn concludes by stating: “We cannot rule out the use of contemporary popular musical styles completely, but this music will have to become more participatory, more ecclesiastical, in its practice as well as more orthodox, more Trinitarian, in its lyrics” (p. 24). But in addition to matters of text, what remain to be considered are questions concerning the meaning and identity of the music itself—questions that by and large have not received sustained attention in the literature discussing “contemporary” Christian worship and music practices within Lutheranism. In the Winter 2005 issue of Lutheran Forum, David P. Saar observes: “The notion that music can actually be critiqued, that certain music is objectively better than other music, and that there could be a theology of church music is quite foreign to many” (p. 40). See his “’Turn Toward the Lord’: A Lutheran Looks at the Pope’s Liturgical Theology,” Lutheran Forum 39 (Winter 2005): 37–42. [Daniel Zager] _______________________________________
Stephen P. Starke, O Sing of Christ: The Hymns of Stephen P. Starke
(Concordia, 2005), 329 pp. [CPH 99-1730, $30.00]
In the foreword to this volume, Richard C. Resch describes hymnwriter Stephen P. Starke as “a modern-day Paul Gerhardt.” This is no exaggeration or effusive flattery in comparing these two Lutheran pastor-poets separated by four centuries. This new collection of Starke’s hymns demonstrates that this is an appropriate comparison, given the obvious confessional and poetical excellence of Starke’s hymns. 122 hymns (or revisions of existing hymns) are included in the book, reflecting the writer’s work through 2005. Each hymn is presented in two styles: as text only (allowing the reader to see the metrical and poetical layout in each stanza); and interlined with the music (melody only) of its suggested tune.
Scriptural references drawn upon for each hymn are also listed, showing the strong correlation between the revealed and sung Word. Often there are numerous references (e.g., “In the Shattered Bliss of Eden” lists ten references). An index of references is 8
READING AND LISTENING Recommended
provided as an appendix. Additionally, indices of topical use, meters, tunes, and first lines are included.
This collection will be useful for hymn singers of all kinds, including not only hymn scholars and other hymn writers, but also all those in the pulpit, on the organ bench, in the choir loft, and in the pews who appreciate good, confessional, well-crafted hymnody. In this age where choices of what is sung, spoken, and used in worship requires careful discernment, this collection of Starke’s hymns stands out as a model of what makes a good hymn. [Kevin Hildebrand] _______________________________________
David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World
(Eerdmans, 2005), 339 pp. [$25.00]
David F. Wells, Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, has provided yet another piercing analysis of contemporary culture and its persistent and invasive shaping of the life and mission of the church. Concerned especially with postmodernism, Wells examines how it is that cardinal assumptions of postmodernism have fueled a new spiritual quest that is characterized by autonomy within what he calls “the culture of nothingness” (p. 178). This new spirituality, Wells argues, is really yet another form of the ancient “Eros” mysticism that tries to access God by our own upward reach. This is set in contrast to “the downward movement of Agape, this majestic condescension of God as he graciously makes himself known to us and in that knowledge gives us an understanding of life’s meaning” (p. 205). This book is a “must read” for pastors and others who are concerned that the present market for spirituality is negatively shaping the church’s worship life. [John Pless] _______________________________________
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Robert Clark Plays Music by Johann Sebastian Bach on the Brombaugh Organ, Opus 35 at First Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Illinois (2005)
[Arsis SACD 405, 2 CDs, $34.00]
Bach, Brombaugh, and Clark form a quite wonderful triumvirate on this recording. The two-CD set includes among its contents the six “Schübler” chorale preludes as well as five preludes from the socalled “Great Eighteen.” Among the free works included are perennial favorites such as the Concerto in A minor (after Vivaldi); the Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major; the Toccata and Fugue in F major; and the Passacaglia in C minor. The organ, completed in June 2004, is one of the last to come out of John Brombaugh’s shop, and it is absolutely stunning. Many organists would without hesitation name Brombaugh as the leading American organ builder of the second half of the twentieth century, and this recording shows why. Robert Clark’s playing is superb, and this is a good opportunity to recommend as well his earlier recording Bach at Naumburg [Calcante CAL CD041], another extraordinary 2-CD set. That recording features the 1746 Hildebrandt organ at St. Wenzel’s Church, Naumburg, a small town about thirty miles southwest of Leipzig. Bach himself played the Hildebrandt organ in 1746 and approved it enthusiastically. The organ was completely restored at the end of the twentieth century and re-dedicated in early December 2000, with Clark’s recording following in 2001. If I could have only one recording of Bach’s organ works in my personal library this would be the one, though the new Arsis recording on the Brombaugh organ is certainly a very close second! [Daniel Zager] _______________________________________
Publishers represented in this issue: Augsburg Fortress www.augsburgfortress.org Concordia Publishing House www.cph.org Eerdmans Publishing Company www.eerdmans.com GIA Publications, Inc. www.giamusic.com Harvard University Press www.hup.harvard.edu Arsis www.arsisaudio.com