‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’

No hymn requests this morning, so I’m on my own.

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, by J.S. Bach–performed by the New London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski…

We usually hear this around Christmastime, but it’s good all year.

7 comments on “‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’

  1. Back is said to have been a devout man. He wasn’t a celebrity in his day, but a humble working musician who was barely known. He composed prolifically and is said to have dedicated all of his works to God.

    I’ve written a few songs in my day. I’ve never published my songs, in great part because the marketability of Light Classical, Bossa Novas and Jazzy Blues is essentially zero, so it wouldn’t be worth the cost of registering the copyrights. Just in the last month or so, I wrote a Rock n’ Roll instrumental, think Pipeline or Walk, Don’t Run. It’s been a lot of fun, but once again, the market prospects are such that it would be unlikely to repay the cost of registering the copyright, however, I do hold copyright to all of my compositions and reserve all rights.

    The point of all this is that composing is a creative endeavor, and once created, a composition continues to exist. It’s a strange thing to experience, but when you write a song, there is a moment where that song comes into existence, and assumes a durable identity. One minute, the song didn’t exist, and the next minute, it does.

    Back to Bach. He composed these works, and wanted to honor God with his works. Centuries later, his works are still honoring our Maker. It’s almost as if they are alive. This is something God-given. Repeating patterns of pitch and timing which coalesce into a song, and the song remains, long after the composer has passed away. I’m a decent songwriter, but I would never suggest that I am in the same league as Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. These men were giants.

    Joy became a Pop hit in the early ‘70s, and I remember learning to play it on guitar, in my teens. A number of classical compositions were recorded using modern instrumentation and a somewhat hopped-up beat in the ‘70s and would get a degree of airplay. It was a breath of fresh air, in comparison to a lot of what was being written at that time.

    It saddens me, that so much of today’s music is soulless and empty. Modern fare has little, if any, appeal to me. It’s gimmicky and artificial, to my ear. By comparison, Pop tunes of the ‘60s and ‘70s sound much more sophisticated, and to be honest, express much more human emotion.

    Once again, Bach to Back; or is it Back to Bach? By acknowledging that his works were visible to God, Bach was motivated to compose works that were compatible with God’s works. They weren’t harsh, or disturbing, but instead, were pleasing to the listener. I’m not suggesting that all music should be bland, or that music should only express positive emotions, but I think that music can, and should honor God.

    1. I don’t like most of today’s music. There’s still some good stuff out there, but it’s drowned out by the bad. I detest music that’s just some jidrool yelling at me.

    2. Most of what I hear, these days, is very formulaic. They’ve analyzed songs which became hits, and extracted the devices which seem to appeal to young listeners. Many new songs are just a series of gimmicks, strung together; all frosting, no cupcake.

      I recently watch some Grand Ole Opry, from the current era, and it’s not much better. Contrived music, sung by people in cowboy hats.

    3. AI would do a better job. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. Owning the rights to songs is where there is money to be made, in the music business. It’s called “publication”, and publication is everything. Years of analysis have been put into finding the common ground between hits. There’s nothing new about this, it’s been happening, at least since the ‘60s.

      What has changed is that now songs are written, somewhat by committee. Contributors send in ideas which contain known elements, common to hit songs. The songwriter merely stitches together snippets, into songs. We’ve gone from Jimmy Webb, who wrote inventive compositions, to songs which are assembled by formula. I would presume that the contributors are paid for their work, and have to surrender any rights. The “songwriter” can then claim publication rights for the song.

      It wouldn’t surprise me, even slightly, if the “songwriter” has to sell their publication rights, in order to have their works produced and distributed. This has been a practice, for decades, where a record label would sign a band of young singer songwriters and offer them a large advance, in exchange for their publication rights. So a band could have a hit song, get a relatively small percentage of units sold, but the record label would cash in on the publication rights, making money for every unit sold. Very importantly, publication is paid for every unit manufactured, so it there was an album with two hit songs, and that album sold well, the owners of the other songs still got paid for every unit manufactured, so owning one “filler” song on a hit album was quite lucrative.

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