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Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

It is marvelous, is it not, what YouTube brings to us?  Oh, I know it has way too many videos of people acting stupid and of terriers dancing to disco music, but then you come across something that is so beautiful and so transporting that you forgive it for all the sludge.

Alice Sommer Herz

Today I’m linking to such a piece, a 12-minute film clip called Alice Dancing Under the Gallows.  Save it until you can watch it in full, because it’s worth the time.  It’s the trailer for a documentary about Alice Sommer Herz, the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor.  Alice was 39 and a concert pianist in Prague when she was sent to Theresienstadt, which was a “show camp” designed to demonstrate to the world that the Nazis treated their Jewish prisoners well.  The inmates knew they lived under a death sentence, but they also were allowed privileges denied in other camps. 

Alice continued to play music in captivity (it helped that she had committed so many pieces to memory).  The film clip is about the power of music to help people transcend suffering, but it’s also about optimism and forgiveness and what makes life worth living.  (It makes me think as well of my time in Germany and of the baffling question of how a culture could produce both Bach and the Holocaust.)

  “I am richer than other people because of what I’ve experienced,” Alice says.  And we are richer for having the chance to spend even 12 minutes with such a blazingly bright soul.

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Gandhi Rap

Gandhi and Rap:  They just don’t go together, do they?  Or maybe they do.  Watch this video and decide:

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Sermons in Sound

Statue in Bach's birthplace of Eisenach, Germany

Before visiting Germany, I had no idea that Martin Luther played such an influential role in the music and life of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Luther believed strongly in the importance of music in church, saying that worship was essentially musical.  Bach took his words seriously, creating many works with direct connections to theological and Biblical themes.  He kept Luther’s translation of the Bible in his studio and wrote initials signifying “Soli Deo Gloria” (to God alone be glory) on most of his musical compositions. 

So today, let’s listen a bit to one of Bach’s sermons in sound.  As we do so, I think it’s clear why Bach believed that the beauty of music was a reflection of the beauty of God. 

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