Hymns, Chopin, and Beautiful Music

Over the past month and a half, I’ve been introduced to 3 wonderful hymns. One of them I’d passed many times in the hymnal and never played it. We learned it at the Sufficiency of Scripture conference (the other 2 I introduced to you with Horatius Bonar – Not What These Hands Have Done, and No Blood, No Altar Now).

The Church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed;
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, “How long?”
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God, the Three in one,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.

O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.
There, past the border mountains,
Where in sweet vales the Bride
With Thee by living fountains
Forever shall abide!

At the end of January, mommy and I had the opportunity to go to a piano concert. I don’t normally listen to solo piano stuff other than Chopin, so I can’t speak expertly, but I think Chopin has a very distinct style. Although he writes intricate passages, Chopin remains simple. He wasn’t afraid to keep it simple, and understood that simple is often more effective. As a beginning composer, I am so often tempted to add lots of things in to make it bigger and more impressive. But Chopin was a master at beautiful simplicity.
Even more than simplicity, Chopin understood the effect of music on the emotions. I’ve yet to find a piece of music that fits the emotion it was attempting to portray better than Chopin’s. His well known “Marche Funebre” is a pretty classic example. And, I don’t usually use Wikipedia, but they have a good section on his music here (you have to scroll down).

A few weeks ago at oboe I had a bit of a conflict with my teacher. I’ve been working on Horovitz’s sonata 3 for Oboe. Well… I really don’t care for it. At first it was alright, but as I practiced it more and more I grew tired of it – it’s not timeless music like Bach.  Anyway, he said something about “I’d love it if you could perform this sometime,” and I was standing there thinking, “I wouldn’t.” I said I’d rather perform the Handel sonata, but he said no.
I explained my frustrations to mommy on the way home and we worked out why I don’t like it. Horovitz writes from a non-Christian worldview – seeking self-expression, not God-exaltation. His music is disordered, chaotic, and dissonant, not reflecting the ultimate standard of God’s beauty and order.
Music I DO like and have been working on in oboe… Handel’s Oboe Sonata 2 – the Larghetto especially.
Piano… Mozart’s variations on “Ah, Vous Dirais-je, Maman,” parts 1 and 2. Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude… and I’ve started accompanying Cait with her vocal pieces. My favorites so far have been Time to Say Goodbye (and if you want to know something random, I can sing the tenor part for that just fine… yay contraltos!) and Per La Gloria.
Guitar… Asturias has been my main focus, with Bach (Air on a G String, Prelude to Cello Suite 1, and one other on the side).

In case any of you who know of my recent composing attempts are wondering how things are going, they’re moving. I’m studying Rimsky-Korsakov’s Principles of Orchestration while working on a few compositions. One is the fourth movement (yes, I’m starting in the middle) of a 7 movement piece (for piano or string quintet… not sure yet) that tells the greatest story – Creation, Fall, Promise, Anticipation, Christ, Propitiation, Victory. Others are various ideas that at the moment have no purpose so they’ll probably die.

What music has caught your attention lately?



One thought on “Hymns, Chopin, and Beautiful Music

  1. Laura Elizabeth says:

    I love the song ‘The Church’s One Foundation’. It’s beautiful. My favorite verse would be:
    ‘Elect from every nation,
    yet one o’er all the earth,
    her charter of salvation,
    one Lord, one faith, one birth;
    one holy Name she blesses,
    partakes one holy food,
    and to one hope she presses,
    with every grace endued.’

    Some music that I’ve been enjoying lately is Richard Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’. It’s epic 🙂 Basically, I like almost any classical music: Vivaldi, Tchiakovsky (if that’s how you spell it), Bach, Beethoven, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Chopin. I’ll have to look it up.


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