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To Know Christ and to Make Him Known

Sept. 13, 2020: Prelude and Fugue in F-Sharp Major by Bach and “When We are Living” arr. by Diemer

Music Message for September 13, 2020 from Danny
(If you do not see the music icons/links within this post, please click on the Sep. 13, 2020 title/link above.)

Prelude and Fugue in F-Sharp Major by J.S. Bach and “When We Are Living” arr. Emma Lou Diemer

For this week, I have another Bach piece—this time from the Well-Tempered Clavier, another very well known collection of pieces.  This collection consists of two volumes each containing twenty-four preludes and fugues (one for each key—the twelve major keys and the twelve minor keys).  The term “clavier” is just a generic term meaning any keyboard instrument.  The harpsichord and the clavichord were both common household instruments at the time—but clavier could also mean the organ and eventually the piano.  What Bach means by “well-tempered” is that the instrument used should be tuned in such a way that all keys sound good.  More common systems of tuning at the time are known as “meantone temperaments” –in which certain keys sound great, but other keys—the ones with more accidentals in the key signature—sound out of tune. (I’ll explain more about temperaments another time if people are interested.)

Anyway, here it is: my selection from Well-Tempered Clavier—the Prelude and Fugue in F-Sharp Major from Book I—me playing my virginal in my apartment…


And then for something with a hymn tune, I decided to do “When We Are Living,” which I thought fit well with the readings this week.  This hymn isn’t in our hymnal, but it’s very popular with other denominations and is also used a lot in many Catholic churches.  I have an organ piece by Emma Lou Diemer that uses the tune.  (Diemer is a well known American organist and composer that you may have heard of before if you’re interested in organ music.) Here’s a recording of me playing her piece in my apartment as well as a translation from the Spanish for the verses of the hymn (as found in one of my old hymnals).  Thanks for listening, everyone!- Danny

1.  When we are living, it is in Christ Jesus,
and when we’re dying, it is in the Lord.
Both in our living and in our dying,
we belong to God; we belong to God.

2. Through all our living, we our fruits must give.
Good works of service are for offering.
When we are giving, or when receiving,
we belong to God; we belong to God.

3. ‘Mid times of sorrow and in times of pain,
when sensing beauty or in love’s embrace,
whether we suffer, or sing rejoicing,
we belong to God; we belong to God.

4. Across this wide world, we shall always find
those who are crying with no peace of mind,
but when we help them, or when we feed them,
we belong to God; we belong to God.