“As the light of the morning, when the sun riseth…”

Monday night we got a good rain – steady, a little heavy at first then just long and steady, with very little wind. It overflowed the gutter and filled one cistern and boosted the other one, but didn’t flood much in my part of town. The clouds lingered almost until dawn.

And then the sun rose. A high layer of sheets of ice shifted from grey to soft pink, washing the sky. Lower clouds to the west blushed before darkening to near purple. Below the high pink, smaller, lower storm remnants glowed like gilded jewels, ruby in liquid gold settings, a scatter of gems against the rose-gold sky. The rose shifted again into soft gold but the rubies remained hanging above the fresh emerald world below.

The cool, sweet air smelled clean, looked clean, washed of dust and pollen. The world was alive with the morning, singing and pure, full of life and every good and glorious thing. Is it any wonder I broke out in song?

Samuel 23: 3-4 “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, ‘He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.’ ” (KJV)

The second section at :50 – 2:20.

Finlandia

“Finlandia” is a tune most people probably recognize from hearing it as a hymn or as background music. It is melodic, slow, pleasing to the ear, and not difficult. The words most commonly used are “Be Still my Soul” or “This is my Song” one of the lowest-key “patriotic” hymns in the hymnals I’m familiar with. Most people assume it is one of the folk-tune hymns, arranged by Jan Sibelius. It has a rather more turbulent history. It was composed for a covert anti-Russian protest pageant. Continue reading

More Musical Musings for the Season

“America the Beautiful” is one of those songs that seems to keep changing. Here are the original words, which don’t always 1) fit the meter of the tune (“Materna”) and 2) include references I don’t think 99.9% of us including Yours Truly would get these days, and 3) are not really a mainstream-denomination hymn. Original poem (1893)[6]

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
Continue reading

Assorted Musings on Seasonal Music Part 1

It’s that time of the year, when the sound of John Phillip Sousa and Aaron Copeland and Tchaikovsky are heard through the land, and people who don’t normally like classical music all that much are thumbing through the TV listings in search of the Boston Pops or whoever else might be doing the “1812 Overture” with fireworks. And Lee Greenwood and a few other vocalists get more air-time than the other 361 days combined. Which led to some interesting thoughts about music. Continue reading

The Time I Didn’t

A minister I like has a saying that you need to be very careful about distinguishing the promptings of the Holy Spirit from the churnings of indigestion. I’m not certain if it is something from the Divine, or my family’s touch of Second Sight, or what, but there are times when I’ve gotten a very strong sense from outside of myself that I really, really do not want to do something or go somewhere, or take a certain route at that very moment. And there have been times when I’ve been pushed by that same sense to do something, usually something I’m not comfortable about but that turns out for the best. But there was one time I didn’t do what I was moved to do.

I had not thought about it for many years, until I was driving home from worship and turned on the radio. It was the last two verses of “Walking in Memphis.” I’m not sure why that took my memory back to that concert, unless it was because the narrator talks about going to a club and being asked to perform. The lady pianist “asked ‘Are you a Christian, Child’ and I said, ‘Ma’am, I am tonight’!” Continue reading

Songs of Place

Some months back I heard Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Southern Cross” on the radio. I had not heard it before, and it caught my fancy.  The first two verses go: “Got out of town on a boat goin’ to Southern islands
Sailing a reach before a followin’ sea
She was makin’ for the trades on the outside
And the downhill run to Papeete

Off the wind on this heading lie the Marquesas
We got eighty feet of the waterline nicely making way
In a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you
But on a midnight watch I realized why twice you ran away.”

Continue reading

Christus Resurexit!

He is risen indeed!

A light shone in the darkness, and the darkness overcame it not.

A most blessed Easter to my Christian readers, and hopes for a wonderful, rich day and bright future for all my readers.

I love this Russian choral piece, because of the music, and because of how it describes spring. It is “Alleluia! Christ is Risen” by Andre Kopolyoff, arranged by Harvey B. Gaul.