Category Archives: musical performance

Mendelssohn and a Psalm

I waited for the Lord, he inclined unto me,
he heard my complaint.
O blest are they that hope and trust in him.

From the ESV:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
  he inclined to me and heard my cry.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.  Psalm 40:1, 4a.

Now Hath Christ Arisen!


This joyful Eastertide,
Away with sin and sorrow!
My love, the Crucified,
Hath sprung to life this morrow.

Had Christ, that once was slain,
Ne’er burst his three-day prison
Our faith had been in vain:
But now hath Christ arisen, arisen, arisen!

My flesh in hope shall rest,
And for a season slumber:
Till trump from east to west
Shall wake the dead in number.

Death’s flood hath lost his chill,
Since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
My passing soul deliver.

Our choir will sing this Dutch carol tomorrow.

Born in Chains

Now that I’ve put away all my Advent and Christmas music I looked for something I haven’t heard in a while to entertain me while I cook and bake today, awaiting a brief visit from friends.  I chose Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems CD.  The last two songs, “Born in Chains” and “You Got Me Singing” remind me of Dylan, and Christianity.  I hope Cohen knew Who he was addressing in the ultimate sense.

I was born in chains but I was taken out of Egypt
I was bound to a burden, but the burden it was raised
Lord I can no longer keep this secret
Blessed is the name, the name be praised
I fled to the edge of a mighty sea of sorrow
Pursued by the riders of a cruel and dark regime
But the waters parted and my soul crossed over
Out of Egypt, out of Pharaoh’s dream
Word of words and the measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I cannot read the rest
I was idled with my soul, when I heard that you could use me
I followed very closely, but my life remained the same
But then you showed me where you had been wounded
In every atom broken is a name
I was alone on the road, your love was so confusing
All my teachers told me I had myself to blame
But in the grip of sensual illusion
The sweet unknowing unifies a name
Word of words, and the measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I cannot read the rest
I’ve heard the soul unfolds in the chambers of its longing
And the bitter liquor sweetens in the amber cup
But all the ladders of the night have fallen
Only darkness now, to lift the longing up
Word of words and measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I cannot read the rest.
Christians believe we are all born in chains, and it is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (“broken in every atom)” that breaks the chain of sin and covers us with the righteousness of Christ.  It is a gift…the water parts and we walk over into the very presence of God, based solely on the gift.
Romans 8: 1-4  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by flesh, could not do.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

A Prayer Come to Life

” Beautiful music, beautiful camera work, like a kaleidoscope at times.”  This video is delightful.

Terez Rose  writes about this much loved piece of music:

In the second act of Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera, Hänsel und Gretel, composed in 1892 and first performed on December 23, 1893, there is a treasure that will live forever in the hearts of countless listeners. Called “Abendsegen” in its original German and “Evening Prayer” in English, it’s also known as “The Children’s Prayer.” In the opera, it is what Hansel and Gretel sing before they go to sleep, alone and lost in the woods. The song conjures so many powerful emotions and nuances: the bravery of two scared kids; the comfort of a ritual song or prayer; their faith and hope, and the beauty of all these things (not to mention the stunning music) that arises, like a mystical force, to blanket and protect the two lost children. Humperdinck and his sister, Adelheid Wette, who wrote the libretto, have made it more than “a mystical force.” Fourteen angels take the stage in the opera, in the scene following the children’s song, where they gather round and protect the children, a prayer come to life.

When at night I go to sleep,
Fourteen angels watch do keep,
Two my head are guarding,
Two my feet are guiding;
Two upon my right hand,
Two upon my left hand.
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover,
Two to whom ’tis given
To guide my steps to heaven.