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A Latin book about Greek hymns

In a recent project of mine I have been researching early Christian hymns in Greek, and from the book Early Christians Speak by Everett Ferguson, I was referred to an old volume Anthologia Graeca Carminum Christianorum, written by W. Christ and M. Paranikas. The title looked promising (Anthology of Greek Christian Songs for those who aren鈥檛 familiar with Lingua Latina), and I knew if it was written in Latin, it must be old.

So where does Benjamin go to find old and obscure books in foreign languages? Straight to the Interlibrary Loan page at the library website! I was surprised to find that quite a few libraries owned it, and I hoped to have better luck than the last time when I asked for an Italian book about Greek verbs (or that course for learning Huastec Nahuatl written in Spanish). I was overjoyed when the UT library agreed to send the book, and the other day I picked it up at the library.

It was all I had imagined. An old book, published in MDCCCLXXI (I鈥檒l let you translate the date, you probably need practice with Roman numerals anyway), and entirely in Latin鈥攅xcept for the great number of Greek hymns from the Byzantine and pre-Byzantine time periods. There is also an unexplicable group of German hymns in the middle of the book, and I haven鈥檛 yet figured out how they fit in. Read More

Across the Appalachians

Across the Appalachians

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This song was written as a Christmas present last year for my friend. It was my dad’s idea, and since I’m the family composer, I wrote the music and my sister helped with the lyrics. The song is about the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, based upon our experiences there last fall.

We recorded this version as a trio with guitar accompaniment, although someday I hope to be able to produce a more elaborate arrangement. It was lots of fun putting it together, and perhaps it will lead to more musical projects in the near future.

I hope you enjoy the song, and if you don’t mind, please post a comment to tell us what you think about it!

Across the Appalachians — Recorded 8-29-2007 at the Ziphen Studio (a.k.a. Benjamin’s room)

  • Vocals by Deborah, Leah, and Benjamin
  • Guitar by Deborah

Sunset Dreams

Although I am not really in a position to judge this, it seems to me that there has been a trend in modern music to have vague lyrics. On more than one occasion my friends and I have discussed the lyrics of certain Josh Groban songs in which meaning is particularly elusive, and I have often wondered why the lyricists have done this to us. Is it as my sister has hypothesized, that in this way you can decide for yourself what the song means? I鈥檓 still clueless, but nevertheless I still grasp for meaning in some of these songs.

Just recently I got a tape of a certain Irish band called Clannad (they鈥檙e kinfolk of Enya, so I hear), and I ended up digitizing about half of the songs, the rest sounding too much like pop for my liking. I do enjoy the songs they sing in Irish Gaelic (which I can鈥檛 understand anyway), but there is one song called 鈥淪unset Dreams鈥 that sounds really cool. The only problem: I can鈥檛 figure out what it means! Here, you give it a shot: Read More