Lyrical Shapes of Fatherly Love by Ken Myers

Column

From Heavenly Harmony

Lyrical Shapes of Fatherly Love

When my son was seven or eight, he was plagued by various fears at bedtime that kept him from falling asleep. In an effort to provide some form of comfort, I gave him a small cassette player that had a decent speaker to place on his bedside table and set about to make him a mix tape. As a professional audio producer with lots of elaborate gear at hand—and as a parent long concerned about the responsibility of helping to form the imagination of my children—this was a natural response. My efforts soon resulted in a cassette inscribed with a single word written with a black felt-tip pen: "Palestrina." My son was soon being soothed by sound from the sixteenth century.

Not all of the music written by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594) would be suitable for bedtime listening. There are, after all, around 500 choral works in his catalog, including 104 settings of the Mass and 250 motets fulfilling a wide range of liturgical and theological ends. Mournful lament and glorious ecstasy are to be heard in his works, but always guided by confident (rather than cautious) restraint. The Danish musicologist Knud Jeppesen once wrote: "Judging from his art he seems to have been of an earnest, quiet disposition, and to have been characterized by a certain gentle manliness combined with aristocratic reserve, and a pronounced natural aptitude for the harmonious."

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

6.1—Winter 1993

Civilization Without Religion?

by Russell Kirk

32.5—September/October 2019

Make Men Pious Again

2018 Conference Talk by C. R. Wiley

19.10—December 2006

God Rest Ye Merry

by Wilfred M. McClay

00