Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Ten Most Beautiful Examples of Christian Music I Have Ever Heard

Given that we live in a time where Christian music seems dominated by pop songs disguised as worshipful music, I thought it would be nice to present ten of the finest examples of sacred and beautiful Christian music that I have yet found in my scouring of the dusty annals of history.  Refreshingly, I think, there is no hint of liturgical dance interpretations, no whiff of summer pop songs converted into "praise-and-worship" music, just timeless music from centuries past that has come down to our time.

I am prepared for the standard criticisms, and ready myself for the winds that will inevitably blow.  But for the rest of you who may happen by chance to read this most humble blog, I present to you ten songs which I have found most edifying.

A quick note:  I DO NOT INTEND ANY COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OR ANYTHING ELSE OF THE SORT.  If the video somehow violates this in any way, let me know and I will remove it immediately with due apology.  I merely wish to show off some of the best music I have yet found.

Plug in your headphones, light a few votive candles...and enjoy.


11 comments:

  1. Two times I was unexpectedly moved by music outside of my tradition. 1. The first time I attended a Roman Catholic funeral mass. The singer sang a simple chorus of "amens" and I was almost moved to tears. 2. In Israel, when we visited Peter of Primacy on the Sea of Galilee, a service was going on in the Eastern Orthodox chapel, so we sat out in the rain as our leader read John 21:1-17. As Dr. Williams was just drawing us mentally into the story, the sound of Gregorian chant emerged from the chapel. He kept reading with the new soundtrack behind him. It was incredible! Pictures of the trip here: http://www.ingodsway.org/israel-log-8-march-2011/)

    Question: Is the Roman Catholic Church dealing with the whole performance versus participation in worship music, as some of us Protestants are?

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    Replies
    1. We all need to consider the lyrics of 'The Heart of Worship' by Matt Redman. He became quite famous in and around the non-denominational Christian world. And people flocked to hear him perform during the "praise and worship" at services. Realizing that, he wrote the song.

      "I'm coming back to the heart of worship
      And it's all about You
      All about You, Jesus"

      Many non-denominational churches I've recently attended are more concerned with performance and entertainment than about real praise and worship.

      I pray to return to the heart of worship.

      John

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  2. Hi friend,
    Your question could make a good blog posting...I'll see what I can come up with.

    By the way, are you sure it was Gregorian chant coming out of an Orthodox chapel? Gregorian is a western chant.

    Going to check out your new site now...

    J

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    1. No, I am not sure it was "Gregorian" chant. That is probably just what we ignorant people called the chant music that was coming out of of the chapel.

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  3. Pi2 (that is pi, right?):

    We western Catholics are in the midst of a big battle over liturgical music. Indeed, over liturgy period. After Vatican II (though not necessarily because of Vatican II), the Mass, including its sung portions, were widely Protestantized. For instance, hymns (many of them by Lutheran or Methodist musicians) replaced the graduals and antiphons. In the last couple decades, and especially since the ascendency of Benedict XVI to the See of Rome, the tide as begun to turn on the modernists. Tradition is -- slowly -- beginning to reassert itself. Many parishes can muster up the Latin hymns on the great feast days, for instance, and English editions of the graduals have been helpful in restoring the sung Mass. The "Amen Chorus," which is what you heard, is sung every Mass, however.

    Jason,

    The photo of Hagia Sophia made my heart burn. One day the Eucharist will again be held at its altar.

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  4. I am playing these right now and my four year old loves it. She is trying to sing along. (She also loves classical music and puts her fingers in her ears for anything "noisy." It is wonderful to see her natural attraction to beauty. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. I enjoyed sampling the selections. The Te Deum was nice and majestic; but I disagree. The times I have sung this, have all been occasions of jubilation and we belted out the music as the simple tone lends itself to. Also, the phrases are all in the plural, so there also, I disagree with a soloist. The Te Deum is similar to "Holy God we praise Thy Name", and this is always done with enthusiasm.

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  6. Thank you for putting these all in one place! I love chant and plainsong, but I have also found value in simple, modern praise choruses (but NOT in the Mass!). To me, it is easy to teach praise choruses to my kids, and I find particular value in those that are based off of Scripture, with the catchy tune as a way to always have a praise or prayer on your lips.

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  7. The original German text to "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" is actually a rhymed paraphrase of the Te Deum.

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  8. Friend, music is still sung this way at my Church on Sunday. It's pretty incredible too!Gregorian chant, Mozart's Masses and all. http://www.institute-christ-king.org/stlouis/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRtMIQbQiIs&list=PL2B4004A3C83BFF63

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