The Unbearable Sweetness of Coffee

Strictly speaking, coffee is a bitter beverage. Hence the frequency with which sweetening agents are added to the popular drink. As an object of intensive desire, however, it can rightly be said: Ah! how sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, smoother than muscatel wine. As it is aptly put in J. S. Bach’sContinue reading “The Unbearable Sweetness of Coffee”

Bach ‘N Roll!

Rinaldo Alessandrini, harpsichordist and conductor of Concerto Italiano, has recorded enough albums to fill the seven seas. And each one sounds as if he spent a lifetime perfecting every detail. Although competition for this distinction is stiff, I think he must be considered one of the greatest interpreters of Vivaldi. His reconstruction of a VivaldianContinue reading “Bach ‘N Roll!”

Spiritually Essential

Although Epiphany season is well behind (and, in the cycle of sacred time, even further ahead) of us, no time is a bad time to celebrate manifestations of divine glory. That’s why I’m pleased to have discovered the work of Three Notch’d Road: The Virginia Baroque Ensemble. Their most recent CD, released a couple yearsContinue reading “Spiritually Essential”

What Will You Give Me?

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, and said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him (Mt. 26:14-16). Bleed now, loving heart! Ah!Continue reading “What Will You Give Me?”

O Lord, Our Lord!

The opening of Bach’s Johannes-Passion plunges us into the midst of Christ’s violent death. The swirling strings and plaintive winds establish an air of helpless distress. The first word, “Herr!” (Lord!), is a cry for help. Its repetition and extension into the slightly longer “O Lord, our Lord!” only accentuates the state of extreme crisis.Continue reading “O Lord, Our Lord!”

Only to Honor Thee!

I shall live only to honor thee,My Savior! Give me strength and courage,So that my heart may do right eagerly.Strengthen me,So that I may worthilyAnd thankfully extol thy grace! J. S. Bach From the fourth cantata of his Christmas Oratorio (streaming, CD, download). What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!