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Thread: Holy Inspired

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    Default Holy Inspired

    If you have access to BBC Music magazine, the May issue has an interesting article about how and why composers chose to use words, verses and whole chapters from the King James Version of the Bible for their compositions. I especially liked what Vaughn Williams did with Ezekiel and his wheel. But, the important thing was that they felt the translators had created a version of such clarity, cadence and colour as to inspire and enrich any music and they made full use of it.

    A very enjoyable and informative article.

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    That's something worth reading. Thanks for the heads-up.

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    Let's not forget that a lot of composers write "Holy Inspired" music for purely financial considerations (church commissions, etc.) The very Vaughn Williams you're mentioning was an atheist.
    - Ken

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    I have this month's but haven't read it yet - I look forward to it! The KJV has certainly had a great influence for its many wonderful passages

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    Quote Originally Posted by KJohnson View Post
    Let's not forget that a lot of composers write "Holy Inspired" music for purely financial considerations (church commissions, etc.) The very Vaughn Williams you're mentioning was an atheist.
    You may be missing the point; well, at least a point. The King James Version was a remarkable achievement of literary prose in its day - and since. No acceptance of 'truth' is required to admire the power of its language. You just have to get by all those 'begats'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    You may be missing the point; well, at least a point. The King James Version was a remarkable achievement of literary prose in its day - and since. No acceptance of 'truth' is required to admire the power of its language. You just have to get by all those 'begats'.

    Oh yes! I agree with you. The language is no doubt remarkable! I'll go back and read some of it. Thanks for reminding me.
    - Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    You may be missing the point; well, at least a point. The King James Version was a remarkable achievement of literary prose in its day - and since. No acceptance of 'truth' is required to admire the power of its language. You just have to get by all those 'begats'.

    I have been curious, though. Much (well, a lot) of this music came out of Germany and France. I even read just yesterday, that Martin Luther's composers used Bible verses because of their wonderfully-moving passages. Now, what Bible was that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel View Post
    I have been curious, though. Much (well, a lot) of this music came out of Germany and France. I even read just yesterday, that Martin Luther's composers used Bible verses because of their wonderfully-moving passages. Now, what Bible was that?
    I'm guessing that followers of Luther probably would have used the German Lutheran Bible. I believe that is the text Brahms used for his Ein Deutsches Requiem.

    However, if it was in Latin, then I am guessing they would have used the Latin Vulgate - I think.
    Last edited by DrMike; May-25-2011 at 15:35.

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    Right. So, it wasn't just the KJV that was awe-inspiring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel View Post
    Right. So, it wasn't just the KJV that was awe-inspiring.
    Luther, Catholic and other high monkey-monks may have been inspired by content rather than language. Modern translations from the Greek and/or Hebrew apparently inspire awe in the people who use them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel View Post
    Right. So, it wasn't just the KJV that was awe-inspiring.
    But what does that matter? Can't more than one thing inspire people? Van Gogh found inspiration in street taverns and starry nights. Monet in water lilies. And many people found inspiration for music in the literary genius of the KJV. That doesn't mean that other translations didn't also inspire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrMike View Post
    But what does that matter? Can't more than one thing inspire people? Van Gogh found inspiration in street taverns and starry nights. Monet in water lilies. And many people found inspiration for music in the literary genius of the KJV. That doesn't mean that other translations didn't also inspire.
    That's the point I was making, yes. It wasn't just the King James Version per se. Perhaps it was the fact that the Bible was in their own language (whatever language) and they understood it better than when it was read (or sung) to them in Latin or Greek. The music was inspiring but add understandable words and it is even moreso.

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