Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring

I have written about Bach and now I want to share with you one of my favorite compositions by him: Jesu joy of man's desiring.

Luther on music

Martin Luther was quite a lover of music; He wrote:
"Next to Theology I give to music the highest place and the highest honor. Next to the word of God, only music deserves to be extolled as the mistress and governess of the feelings of the human heart. We know that the devil's music is distasteful and insufferable. My heart bubbles up and overflows in response to music."
Luther was one to use strong terms to prove his point; when describing the "perfect wisdom of God in His wonderful work of music", he said, "He who does not find [music] an inexpressible miracle of the Lord is truly a clod and is not worthy to be considered a man"!

Bach, my favorite composer from the Baroque era

Born in 1685, Johann Sebastian Bach is arguably the most famous composer from the Baroque era. Some of his admirers and copiers were Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and Mendelssohn, and I certainly admire him; his music is so complex yet so simple, so powerful yet so gentle, uplifting and majestically beautiful. I have listened to Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky, but none of them have the same uplifting and majestic feel to them. I do enjoy listening to these other composers, but if I needed some joy or encouragement, I would choose Bach before any others from the classical or Baroque period. His music really makes you think; it doesn't lull you to sleep or dull your senses; in fact, it sharpens them. I would say that this was mainly due to his Christian faith; it brought joy and life into all that he wrote. Bach's main goal was not fame or fortune,which was chiefly to be gotten from the writing of opera. Instead, his primary goal was, in his own words, "a well regulated church music." He intentionally wrote all music from a Christian perspective and for the glory of God, signing each piece with "Sola Dei Gloria": to God alone be the glory. Even in his day, the music he wrote was considered old fashioned and was not as admired as it was later on. He tended to use the old styles and stood up against the trends of the day. He did not, however, totally abandon the newer music; he often took newer themes and wove them in with the older ones. There is another interesting fact: of all the books in his library, only his Bible remains; it includes marginal notes in his own hand which reveal thorough and thoughtful reading.
Bach was born in a large household, the eighth child of fourteen, and all in his family were musically gifted. Score paper and music were rare in his day because it had to be copied out by hand. It was said that, once, when he wanted to borrow some of his brother's music, (who, incidentally, tutored him in music), his brother refused. Undaunted, however, he stole up into the attic at night to copy it all down, and when his brother found out, he burned all of his work. Though he wrote most of his music for the harpsichord, which was his favorite instrument, he also played the violin, viola, and organ. He died in 1750, leaving over 1,000 compositions, and succeeded as a witness of the gospel to those who followed after him.

Striken smitten and afflicted

Here is a song I just learned, by Thomas Kelly. Absolutely stunning in it's simplicity.

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