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Sing To The Glory of God

From: Richard Paul
Length: 54:12

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The legacy of anti-Semitism in choral music Read the full description.

Bach2_small Sandy Ungar, former host of ?All Things Considered? and the current President of Goucher College hosts a one-hour special public radio program ?Sing to the Glory of God.? This unprecedented special program sheds light on the legacy of anti-Judaism in great Choral repertory. ?Sing to the Glory of God? is intended to promote thought and discussion during the upcoming holiday season. The birth, death and resurrection of Christ have inspired some of the most passionate sacred music ever written. As Christians prepare to celebrate the most holy days of the church?s calendar, men and women in grand concert halls, modest church buildings and glittering cathedrals will turn to the Choral repertory for inspiration raise their voices to the glory of God. But over the last half-century, music directors, singers and even audiences have begun to raise troubling questions about some of the most widely recognized pieces in the repertoire, especially Bach?s Passions of St. Matthew and St. John. The problems are etched into the librettos, which contain dangerous anti-Judaic images, which have their point of origin in the Gospels themselves. Confronted with the challenge of singing words that have been historically used to sanction hate, many chorus members are refusing to participate. Others have swallowed hard and sing pieces in their original German, hoping their audiences won?t notice the words. And some have begun to develop educational resources to identify and respond to the problems of religious intolerance. Throughout the hour, Sandy Ungar, scholars and musicians provide a historical and literary context to guide the listener through a tangle of charges and counter-charges. Into the conversation, producer Richard Paul has woven the music that lies at heart of the dilemma.

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Piece Description

Sandy Ungar, former host of ?All Things Considered? and the current President of Goucher College hosts a one-hour special public radio program ?Sing to the Glory of God.? This unprecedented special program sheds light on the legacy of anti-Judaism in great Choral repertory. ?Sing to the Glory of God? is intended to promote thought and discussion during the upcoming holiday season. The birth, death and resurrection of Christ have inspired some of the most passionate sacred music ever written. As Christians prepare to celebrate the most holy days of the church?s calendar, men and women in grand concert halls, modest church buildings and glittering cathedrals will turn to the Choral repertory for inspiration raise their voices to the glory of God. But over the last half-century, music directors, singers and even audiences have begun to raise troubling questions about some of the most widely recognized pieces in the repertoire, especially Bach?s Passions of St. Matthew and St. John. The problems are etched into the librettos, which contain dangerous anti-Judaic images, which have their point of origin in the Gospels themselves. Confronted with the challenge of singing words that have been historically used to sanction hate, many chorus members are refusing to participate. Others have swallowed hard and sing pieces in their original German, hoping their audiences won?t notice the words. And some have begun to develop educational resources to identify and respond to the problems of religious intolerance. Throughout the hour, Sandy Ungar, scholars and musicians provide a historical and literary context to guide the listener through a tangle of charges and counter-charges. Into the conversation, producer Richard Paul has woven the music that lies at heart of the dilemma.

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Review of Sing To The Glory of God

Compelling piece on choral works of some of the greatest such as Bach, Telemann, and Handel, but mainly focusing the 'Passion' works of Johann Sebastian's. Controversial lyrics are mainly the cause of debate, but the piece delves into elaborate discussions about the use of music to emphasize the libretto as well as the reflection of the times these pieces were composed. Bach's music by itself evokes emotional response from listeners, but understanding the content of the piece creates an ethical/moral dilemma as well. The debate continues about how future interpretations of the works can be best presented to listeners without censoring. Should measures be taken to educate listeners about the pieces or should it be ignored?

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Review of Sing To The Glory of God

“Sing” takes as its starting point the inherent anti-Semitism in Bach’s choral repertory and moves on to the problem of what do you do with a piece of music that is incontestably hateful yet also sublimely beautiful. What’s nice about this piece is that, although there’s a lot of talk, it comes from individuals who, while experts in their subject, are also passionate, common-sensical and moral. They also sound like they’ve wrestled with the issue of what to do with this problematic music. Instead of dismissing the music outright, or even creating apologies for it, they make a very balanced enquiry. They also offer a kind of primer on what exactly a passion story is. If film school students can study “Triumph of the Will” for its well-doneness, than there is certainly an argument for appreciating this music in all its complicatedness. It’s a study of the power of music-- when that power is used for evil rather than good. This could be an interesting addition to classical music programming.

Timing and Cues

00:00 ? 00:59 Billboard
IN: (music) I?m Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College
OQ: "...choral music. Stay tuned (music fade)

06:00 ? 21:00 Seg. A
IN: (Music) Jesus said them
OQ: "... like the St. John Passion. Stay tuned. (music sting)"

21:00 ? 22: 00 Music

22:00 ? 41:30 Seg. B
IN: (music) I?m Sanford Ungar, from Goucher College.
OQ: doing about all this. Stay tuned. (music fade)

41:30 ? 42:30 Music

42:30 ? 59:00 Seg. C
IN: (music) You're listening to "Sing to the Glory of God ..."
OQ: "... Harvey Meyerhoff Foundation"

Musical Works

St. John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach
Angela Maria Blasi soprano, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, tenor, Marjana Lipovsek, contralto, Robert Holl, bass, Anton Scharinger, bass; the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Erwin Ortner, chorus master.

St. Matthew Pasion by Johann Sebastian Bach
Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Evangelist (tenor), Andreas Schmidt, Jesus (baritone), Barbara Bonney & Ann Monoylos, sopranos, Anne Sofie von Otter, alto, Michael Chance, countertenor, Howard Crook, tenor, Olaf Bar, baritone, Cornelius Hauptmann, bass.
The Monteverdi Choir, the London Oratory Junior Choir, the English Baroque Soloists

Related Website

http://icjs.org/