Music Throwback Saturday: The Creation

The salesperson wondered if I meant the Haydn piece; no, that’s not

creationMany, many years ago, I was a member of the choir at Binghamton (NY) Central High School, and we sang something called the Creation. The text is based on the first three verses of the Book of Genesis in the Bible.

When we performed this, the presentation was very dramatic in that the lights would dim as the lyrics “and darkness fell upon the face of the deep.” At the point where we sang, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light,” all the lights came on. We used to memorize the music we sang.

I have never sung The Creation again, and I had never heard anyone else perform it. Nevertheless, I was pretty sure I could still sing most of the bass line, nearly fifty years later.

I couldn’t look at the piece, though, because I didn’t remember who the composer was. When I went to a local sheet music store, now defunct (alas!), and tried to replicate the sound, the salesperson wondered if I meant the Haydn piece; no, that’s not it.

Fortunately, my sister Leslie, who I’m sure could still sing the alto line, recently found a copy of the music. It was written by Willy Richter (1914-1984). She directs a choir part-time and wants her group to perform it. I’d crash her choir except for the fact that she’s 3000 miles away.

Though I sang it with males and females, there are arrangements for men only as well.

Listen to The Creation by Willy Richter

USD Chamber Singers

The NJHSA Chorale at Pascack Bible Church

Luther College Collegiate Chorale

Gary D. Gardner/Michiana Male Chorus

Listen to

THE CREATION (Franz Joseph Haydn), which is a very long piece. From 7:45 to 10:30 – it matches the scripture covered by Richter. Do you hear any musical similarities?

Next week, back to pop tunes.

July Rambling: Weird Al, and the moon walk

I REALLY want to see the movie Life Itself, about Roger Ebert.

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell. To that end, Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations and Congratulations: It’s a corporation.

An answer to the child immigrant problem at the US-Mexican border? I note that the Biblical Jesus was a refugee, his parents fleeing Herod’s wrath. Yet so many people who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ “are so uncaring and hateful about hungry children trying to get to a better, safer place to live.”

In the non-surprise category: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda.

Yiddish Professor Miriam Isaacs has dug in a previously unknown treasure of over a thousand unknowns Yiddish songs recorded of Holocaust survivors; the text is in Swedish but can be translated. Miriam was my old racquetball buddy decades ago.

The Creation Myth of 20th Century Fundamentalism by Jeff Sharlet, who I also knew long ago.

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe came out as gay. Arthur explains why it STILL matters. Also: I Can Be Christian, and Gay, and Live in Alabama.

Portraits of people in 7 days’ worth of their own garbage.

These next several feel of a piece, about understanding life and each other:
Amy B says This is not a bucket list.
It’s Not as Simple as it Seems: Neal Hagberg at TEDx Gustavus Adolphus College.
Technology has taken much away much.
I Dare You To Watch This Entire Video.
*She Sent All Her Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week.

Our church, First Presbyterian Albany, hosted a work camp in the city the week leading to the 4th of July. Homes were repaired/painted throughout the city; 400+ youth and adults, from several states, including Hawaii, plus folks from Ontario, Canada, were hosted at Myers Middle School; 75+ First Pres folks volunteered to make it all happen. We received some media coverage, including one of the radio stations, WFLY present on opening day. Here’s the web link to the Times Union article. Plus nice coverage from a local public radio station.

The Importance of Eating Together.

Sinful, Scandalous C.S. Lewis, Joy, and the Incarnation.

Interview with Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker biographer.

Jaquandor, via George RR Martin, on writing. While he writes just one word at a time, I write five or six, accidentally leaving one out.

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With.

Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless.

Melanie plays with toys. So does Chuck Miller.

GayProf’s life continues at 40.

Is Dustbury, “prolific” as the inevitable consequence of a desire to maximize his output before the time comes when he cannot put out anything? And, I wondered, am I?

I realize that the 45th anniversary of the moon landing depressed me. Here’s part of the reason. Another part is that, despite disliking violence, I understand why Buzz Aldrin punched Bart Sibrel after being harassed by him suggesting that the July 1969 moonwalk was faked.

Cat Islands.

Louis Zamperini Was More Than A Hero.

Paul Mazursky wrote and directed Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), An Unmarried Woman (1978). But I saw (or heard) him in a number of TV shows and movies.

James Garner’s legacy: A commitment to civil rights and political activism.

Why I want to see the movie Life Itself, about Roger Ebert.

Check out this interview Rebecca Jade, my first niece, did recently through Voices of La Jolla. Click on the microphone/link on the upper right-hand corner to listen to the podcast.

Watching the new Weird Al Yankovic videos, especially Word Crimes. Weird Al is a marketing machine.

Did I mention that Paul McCartney came to Albany, NY? And Omaha, Nebraska? Who performed the mysterious ‘train song’ from the Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’? The George Harrison Memorial Tree killed … by beetles.

Some of SamuraiFrog’s favorite Marvel stories; nice reveal in Fantastic Four #21. Also, for round 15 of ABC Wednesday – YOU can still join! – Mr. Frog will “highlight a different Muppet for each letter, hopefully, some of the lesser-known Muppets and milestones in Muppet history.” So far, A is for Arnold, who you WILL recognize; B is for Bobo the bear.

Superman and the Bible.

For the rest of the summer, absolutely everything new that’s published in the New Yorker will be unlocked. “Then, in the fall… an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall.”

Renting Liechtenstein.

Could “The Big Bang Theory” get canceled? I’ve watched the show maybe thrice, but I find TV machinations interesting.

Mark Evanier wrote about The Battle of the Network Stars, some cheesy TV competition c. 1977. What struck me is that I knew every actor and the associated show from CBS, all but one from ABC, but had serious trouble with the NBC stars. Even I knew of the actor, say, Jane Seymour, I had no idea what show she was representing.


Arthur responds to my TWO posts on Hobby Lobby.

Dustbury cites my Instant Runoff Voting post and my TMI post.

Mr. Frog tackles #1 Songs on My Birthday, which some of the rest of you regular bloggers – you know who you are – might consider.

(not me)
Alison Green, M.D. will join Green Family Practice Clinic on August 1st as the newest family practice doctor in Newport. “Alison joins the practice established by her father, Dr. Roger Green, continuing a rich family heritage of healthcare providers.”

(image from )

MLK as creationist?

For Dr. King, the value of biblical stories is not diminished by their mythological nature. Rather, the myth serves to take the reader beyond the idea or thought within the mind.

MLK-ed-quoteIn a couple of different Facebook strains around the Martin Luther King holiday, I read suggestions that Martin Luther King was a creationist. This is, as far as any evidence I’ve seen, a total fabrication.

First, a sidebar: apparently, there’s a narrative out there that suggests that philosophically – it is a Darwinian worldview that allows racism to exist, while a biblical perspective does not, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Implicit was the notion that King must be a creationist because he believed all people were created equal.

The problem is the only “evidence” to support this theory about King is the fact that he was a Baptist preacher, and aren’t all Baptist preachers creationists? (No.)

From HERE:

Dr. King’s understanding of the Bible is quite simple: he believed it was written in a pre-scientific world and used language that was representative of its era. He flatly rejects a literal interpretation of biblical stories, claiming such a reading would be “absurd” in a Copernican world.

For Dr. King, the value of biblical stories is not diminished by their mythological nature. Rather, the myth serves to take the reader beyond the idea or thought within the mind. In short, he accepts the standard methods for critically examining the Bible. …he explains that this modern method “sees the Bible not as a textbook written with divine hands, but as a portrayal of the experiences of men written in particular historical situations.” Textual and literary criticism, archaeology, and history revealed to King the inadequacy of a literal biblical interpretation. He claimed that this critical approach to the Bible was “the best or at least the most logical system of theology in existence.”

Also, read what he said fairly early on in his papers. No public record suggests a fundamental change from this viewpoint.

For those who have found reading the Bible confounding because it contradicts itself, or for a myriad of other reasons, King’s viewpoint may make the reading more understandable.
Daniel Nester on why Maple Shade, NJ is important in the MLK story.

W is for When was the Earth born?

James Ussher “was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC

I had this rather awkward time recently. One of my nieces was over, and she and my daughter were reading a book about this young girl in England in the 19th century who had discovered some fossilized items. The book mentioned that the items were millions of years old. This didn’t make any sense to the niece, who believes the age of the earth can be measured in thousands of years.

There is a philosophy called Young Earth creationism, which is “the religious belief that the Universe, Earth, and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago.” The article notes that, as early as 160 A.D., this theory was established. The key basis of this theory is a literal interpretation of the Bible, and the dates therein.

What I find interesting is that while “support for a young Earth declined from the eighteenth century onwards with the development of the scientific revolution, and scientific paradigm shifts…the rise of fundamentalist Christianity at the start of the twentieth century saw a revival of interest in Young Earth creationism, as a part of the movement’s rejection of the explanation of evolution.” So the concept all but went away, then came back. I did not realize this philosophy had such deep roots.

Possibly the best known historical proponent of YEC was James Ussher (1581–1656), who was an Archbishop in Ireland for the last 30 years of his life. “He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, according to the proleptic Julian calendar.” Even I don’t agree with his results, I admire the hard work that had to have been necessary to compile it by hand.

I invite you, at your leisure, to read David E. Matson’s refutation of YEC in How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments? Plus this piece on the Big Bang Theory (no, not the comedy on CBS-TV). Generally, scientists believe the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and the universe thrice that.

There is this struggle between biblical and scientific thought, something I just don’t understand. Any number of scientists feel that their study of the universe strengthens their belief in a Supreme Being, not diminishes it. While I believe in God, I don’t think it conflicts with a scientific explanation of Creation. Something along the lines of “God created the Big Bang.”

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

A is for Adam and Eve

What bothers me about the literal Creationists is not that they believe what they believe. It’s that a whole pseudoscience that was created around it.

Big fat caveat upfront; I don’t mean to make light of anyone’s faith, I’m just trying to understand.

Someone I know only online, who I suspect wouldn’t consider herself a particularly religious person, decided to read the Bible. She stopped after Genesis 2. She complained that there were two seemingly contradictory Creation stories. In Genesis 1, the creatures came, then the man and the woman. But in Genesis 2, you get the Adam’s rib version, where the man is seemingly created before the creatures, but definitely before the woman. I say “seemingly”, because the NIV version reads at v. 19 “Now the LORD God HAD formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man…”; the “had” suggests the possibility that the animal had already existed and that the man, hanging out in the garden, simply hadn’t seen them.

The problem, I contended, is that the person was reading the stories as history, as science, not allegory. If you read it as history, and Adam and Eve were in fact the first people, what does it mean in terms of their descendants? Who was Cain’s wife, and who were the people he feared might kill him in Genesis 4? That specific issue confounded me when I was a teenager, and was one of the items that indeed shook my faith at the time.

Once I realized it was not a literal history, it became much easier to understand.

This is why I’m quite puzzled by those who have decided to take Genesis 1 verbatim. The earth and all its creatures, including humans, were formed in six days – possible? Sure, in a “God can do anything” way, but not at all likely. And the order of the creation seems to mesh pretty well with the evolutionary cycle we’ve come to understand, albeit considerably longer. The word “day” may not have meant 24 hours; remember, no one wrote this down at the time, but rather learned it from the oral tradition, transcribing it relatively quite recently, in the last millennium Before the Christian Era. This philosophy, I’ve learned, is called progressive creationism.

What bothers me about the literal Creationists is not that they believe what they believe. It’s that a whole pseudoscience that was created around it, of people walking the earth with the dinosaurs only 4000 years ago, and the planet only 10,000, rather than humans being around for 50,000 to 200,000 years, the dinosaurs having been extinct for 65 million years, and the Earth itself being about 4.6 billion years old. How does this narrative conflict with “some vast eternal plan”, quoting Fiddler on the Roof?

I guess I’m saying that I don’t think science and creation are that much at odds. The shoehorning of a literal six-day earth making – that seems to be a lot more work.

Can someone please explain this to me? Oh, and check out this recent Doonesbury strip, which addresses the issue.

ABC Wednesday team – Round 9

Citation to top piece of artwork.

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