Saturday, December 24, 2016

Bach's Christmas Oratorio: A celebration of three Sundays

In 2013, noted Protestant seminary president Albert Mohler discussed a panel that dismissed rap as "unworthy" for the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In defending the dismissal of rap, he stated form matters in music, and the Biblical view was of good, beautiful, and of the "very being of God."  Specifically, he compared three composers in his column.
Mozart, in Dr. Mohler's view, was a genius, which interfered with art.  He also called out the Austrian composer's worldview, while it was not specifically mentioned in the original article, was found to have been Freemason-influenced, which Pope Clement XII had banned Catholics from participating.

His evidence was the well-known Requiem in D Minor, which I have sung twice in Summer Chorus, which is called an emotional piece but unsatisfying.  Beethoven, he noted, was deeply rooted in the Enlightenment and pantheism (a belief in many different deities), which the seminary leader calls it the primary reason why his music is highly inappropriate for the church.  However, Johann Sebastian Bach is the perfect example.  He called out the proportion and purpose where form and message are on target with an appropriate mix of all.  When pieces are written that include the note "Soli Deo Gloria" -- Solely for the Glory of God, it fits within his references.

In these words as written by Dr. Mohler, we present to you over the next few days the most appropriate series for Christmas, Bach's Christmas Oratorio.  Rejoice!  The Saviour is Born!  In Other Words celebrates Christmas the most appropriate way, with the greatest sacred musician of all time.

Work Cited:
Albert Mohler, "Thinking About Thinking About Rap -- Unexpected Thoughts Over Thanksgiving,"  December 1, 2013.

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