Wednesday, December 29, 2010


One of my absolute favorite tunes to play on my penny whistle is the Kingsfold tune. There have been many songs written to this tune including many beautiful hymns. I was just shown another hymn set to this tune by my mom. You can click on the link below to read the lyrics and listen to the song. The words are truly incredible!

I Once Was Ignorant of Grace

To read a short informative history on the tune go the below link.

Kingsfold is also the tune to one of my favorite Christmas carols, "O Sing A Song Of Bethlehem." This song tells the story of Jesus' life here on earth. I love singing it and playing it on the piano and the penny whistle. In November I was able to play it with a few other friends and my brother for the prelude at our church. It sounded even more beautiful when played with other instruments. It was also my first time playing my penny whistle in front of anyone other than my family, so it was a very neat experience.

"O Sing A Song Of Bethlehem"
By: Louis F. Benson
O sing a song of Bethlehem, of shepherds watching there,
And of the news that came to them from angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem fills all the world today;
Of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth the angels sing alway.

O sing a song of Nazareth, of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers’ breath, and of the sinless Boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth in every heart may grow;
Now spreads the fame of His dear name on all the winds that blow.

O sing a song of Galilee, of lake and woods and hill,
Of Him who walked upon the sea and bade the waves be still.
For though like waves on Galilee, dark seas of trouble roll,
When faith has heard the Master’s Word, falls peace upon the soul.

O sing a song of Calvary, its glory and dismay,
Of Him who hung upon the tree, and took our sins away.
For He who died on Calvary is risen from the grave,
And Christ, our Lord, by Heaven adored, is mighty now to save.

In Christ and For His Kingdom,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Julius Rontgen

Born: May 9, 1855
Leipzig, Germany
Died: September 13, 1932
Utrecht, Holland
Famous For: Composer and Pianist

Julius Rontgen was born on May 9, 1855, to Engelbert Rontgen and Pauline Klengel, in Leipzig, Germany. His father, a violinist, was Dutch, and his mother, a pianist, was German. From a very young age, Rontgen was good at composing and was taught by some of the best teachers. When he was fourteen years old, he was able to play some of his music for the famous composer, Franz Liszt. When he was twenty-two, Rontgen moved to Amsterdam, where he took a job as a piano teacher. He was an excellent pianist and became very close friends with Johannes Brahms, another famous composer of the time. Rontgen was able to play some of Brahms’ works for him during a concert in Holland. Julius Rontgen composed many songs in a wide variety of styles. He did much composing with old folk songs. Rontgen became well known and was a film composer. His love for folk songs shows through in many of his compositions. On his seventy-fifth birthday, he was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburg.
Rontgen died on September 13, 1932, having lived a life full of music. It is said that, “His vast body of work (around 650 compositions) encompasses symphonies, concertos, chamber music, songs, choruses and operas.” (Oron)
If it were not for Rontgen, Brahms, perhaps, may not have been as well known as he is and there would be a great many movies that would not have music. Rontgen lived a full and productive life and even in his old age he still continued to compose.

Adrian Boult - A Great Conductor

Adrian Boult was born on April 8, 1889, to Cedric and Katharine Boult in Chester, England. Throughout his schoolboy days, he often went to concerts of the great musicians of his time. These concerts would have a great impact on him as he was able to watch some of the greatest conductors in the world, at that time, lead their orchestras in music. Boult went to Christ Church college at Oxford where he was an undergraduate in history and then in music.

After Christ Church, he went on to study music at the Leipzig Conservatory. The conductors there were greatly observed by Boult. He learned many things from these men which he would be able to apply to his own conducting. He became a professional conductor in 1914, and made his debut with a few members of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He began conducting for some of the major British orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra. He helped many composers of the time by conducting their works for them. I did not realize what a large impact the conductor has on the orchestra.

Boult quickly became a leading conductor and was very popular amongst the orchestras. He became the director of music at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and remained there for several years. These years were some of the greatest for the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Unfortunately, during WWII the orchestra lost forty players to active service or for other reasons. Boult stepped down so that the composer Arthur Bliss could take the position. He was quickly offered a job by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which he accepted. Boult loved music and he loved conducting. He was not picky about the composers that he conducted music for. During his time working for the LPO, he traveled to many different countries on tour and made several recordings. In 1959, he stepped down from his position and became LPO’s president and was a guest conductor until he retired. Stepping Down gave him more freedom to record and conduct when and where he wanted to. He died at the age of 93, on February 22, 1983.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning

I have been listening to Christmas music practically all day and have still not heard a Christmas song like this one. Way too many of today's Christmas Carols have completely lost the true meaning of Christmas. Thankfully, there are a few that have not.

Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning

I prefer the tune by J. S. Bach. I guess I'm just partial. :-)

In Christ and For HIs Kingdom,

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

My family just got done learning about The Netherlands in school last month. We learned about several famous poeple from The Netherlands, so I thought that I would share what I learned about the ones that are known for their music.

Today's Dutch Person Is.....

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Try saying that one without practicing.) :-)

Born: May 1562,
Deventer, Holland
Died: October 16, 1621
Amsterdam, Holland
Famous For: Composer of the Geneva Psalter, Organist and Composer

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck was born in May of 1562, to Peter Swybbertszdon and Elske Sweeling. His father was a well-known organist and it was he who taught Sweelinck. The other main teacher of Sweelinck was Jacob Buyck, the pastor of Oude Kurk. Buyck taught Sweelinck until he left the church because of conflicts with the Calvinists. Sometime around 1577 Sweelinck became the organ player for the Oude Kurk church. He was an amazing organist and was excellent at improvisation. Sweelinck, for the most part stayed in Amsterdam. He occasionally left to go inspect other organs in nearby cities, but for the most part he just stayed in the city. Sweelinck was the best, most advanced organist before Johann Sebastian Bach. Not only did he compose beautiful organ music, he also did many works for the voice.
Sweelinck was the man who took music from the Renaissance era, into the Baroque era. His music for the organ and for voice was complex, but beautiful in sound and in style. Most likely, Johann Sebastian Bach was greatly influenced by Sweelinck’s music and compositions.
Sweelinck’s life may not seem very exciting because, for the most part, he did not leave Amsterdam. Compared to many famous composers, he lived a very dull life, but quite often, it is the dull life that God quietly uses for great things. Just think, if it wasn’t for Sweelinck, J. S. Bach would not have been the composer he was, and we would not have had such beautiful music for the Geneva Psalter. (Oron)

Works Cited
Oron, Aryeh. "Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Composer)." Bach Cantatas February 2006.

More soon to come...

In Christ and For His Kingdom,