Saturday, July 25, 2009

Church Music

I have been listening to the new Stuart Townend combined CD and DVD. Only a few of the songs are new: Creations Sings, The Light of the World, There is an Everlasting Kindness, To See the King of Heaven Fall, and My Fault, plus a new version of Cowper's hymn, O for a Closer Walk with Thee. A couple of older hymns I hadn't previously heard: My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness from 2003 and Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God from 2005.

I was particular moved by the words of O Church Arise:

O Church arise and put your armour on;
Hear the call of Christ our captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We'll stand against the Devil's lies;
An Army bold, whose battle cry is love
Reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We'll fight with faith and valour.
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which he died,
An inheritance of nations.

Come see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
As the son of God is stricken;
Then see his foes lie crushed beneath his feet,
For the conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
this victory march continues 'til the day
Every eye and heart shall see him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride,
give grace for every hurdle.
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of all still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of his grace,
We hear their calls, and hunger for the day
When with Christ we'll stand in glory.

To demonstrate that my musical taste is catholic (not Catholic) I have also enjoyed a CD of Russian Orthodox Chant by Bulgarian choirs from Sofia. Scriabin, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov have all been attracted to this art form but for a starter try the compositions of Dmiter Hristov born in Bulgaria in 1933. His four part all-male harmony is sweet to the Western ear.

They sing in Greek, so I have no idea what the words are, but the music is delightful

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