Monday, February 20, 2006

Recording Session for ELW

Last night I had the privilege of attending a recording session for the first Setting of Holy Communion for the new Evangelical Lutheran Book of Worship- aka the ELW or "the new red book". And it was stunning! The tunes were singable and yet not boring or trite. The melodies fit with the meaning of the words. There are all kinds of possibilities for instrumentation. And an added plus, the presiders won't have to learn a new chant tone as those small pieces have been recycled from the LBW with updated language. Although the recording was done on a pipe organ, the tunes would also be marvelous with piano and flute. I have listened to a lot of liturgies over the last few years, having served a congregation that knows at least ten different settings. And I am glad to say, that this new setting is good. And I'm looking forward to hearing what comes next.


P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I don't understand the way this new book has become political...controversial. But I'm glad to hear your positive comments. Our congregation uses the Green and the Blue books and they are not worn out. I'd guess that other congregations may be in the same situation, saying, "why do we need another book?" We love the blue book.

Our young pastor views the Green book as the "traditional" liturgy. I'm not grey haired yet, but I don't see it as traditional because I knew other books before it. Quite frankly, I've never grown to really like the liturgy in the green book. At least in our church the liturgy in that book is played with energy, but I've heard it done like draggy funeral music in some churches.

RevHRod said...

The whole bugaboo about traditional, contemporary and blended leaves me exhausted. I have been to worship services at national ELCA events that were promoted as "blended" but felt more like they were chopped hash. I've been to services with guitar and piano that used what could only be called traditional music- hymns that were hundreds of years old. And the right organist can do marvelous things with music written in the last decade.

I think the trick of all of this is to find a place where the music fits your spiritual "voice". For me, it is almost always more about integrity and theology than the style of music. A lot of the "praise band" music that is out these days has lousy theology, thin lyrics and tunes that are far too simple. We can do better than that. Which doesn't mean it has to be Bach on the organ. It just has to be excellent. God deserves nothing less.