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To Know Christ and to Make Him Known

Sep. 6, 2020: Largo from Trio Sonata in C Minor by Bach and “Be Still, My Soul”

Music Message for September 6, 2020 from Danny
(If you do not see the music icons/links within this post, please click on the Sep. 6, 2020 title/link above.)

Largo from Trio Sonata in C Minor by J.S. Bach and “Be Still, My Soul”

For this week, I picked another Bach piece: the middle movement of the Trio Sonata in C Minor for organ.  Bach wrote six trio sonatas for organ, and they were famously intended as practice pieces for Bach’s eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.  These pieces were known to Friedemann and to some of Bach’s students, but like many of his other pieces, they weren’t widely known across Europe until well after Bach’s death.

Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, English organs in the eighteenth century tended to not have pedals (or sometimes they had only a few pedals) and therefore a lot of organ music by German composers couldn’t be played on them.  Because of this big difference in the kind of organ, when Samuel Wesley first put out an edition of the Bach organ sonatas in England, he specified that they should be played by two performers on a piano (rather than by one performer on an organ).

Here it is–my offering from the organ sonatas: the Largo from the Trio Sonata in C Minor.

And for a hymn this week, I thought I’d offer my recording of myself playing “Be Still, My Soul”—the hymn which women’s bible study listened to a couple weeks ago as part of their discussion class on the book “For the Glory,” which is about Eric Liddell and his mission work in China before and during World War II.  Kathy Lehmann invited me to the class, and I just thought I’d mention that everyone seemed to think that the book was very compelling–if anybody who is not in the book group was wondering about reading it.

The author of “For the Glory” says that Liddell often sung “Be Still, My Soul” during his time in China.  The words to this hymn were written by eighteenth-century German hymn writer Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel, and they were translated into English in the nineteenth century by Jane Laurie Borthwick.  Most hymnals now use the melody from a tone poem called “Finlandia,”which was composed at the turn of the twentieth century by Jean Sibelius.  This melody by Sibelius is the one that Eric Liddell knew for the hymn.

So anyway, here it is: my accompaniment for “Be Still, My Soul” along with a few of the verses to sing along with.  Thanks very much for listening, everyone!

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.