Fall 2016



R. Prior (; 2-8625)

D. Blumenthal (; 404-634-3833)

T, Th 10:00-11:15

Candler Library 212



Texts from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament and their musical interpretations by great composers of Western culture. Works examined will include: Haydn’s “Creation,” Copland’s “In the Beginning,” Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde,” Tallis’ “Lamentations of Jeremiah I and II,” Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms,” Allegri’s “Miserere,” and Gibbons’ “This is the Record of John.”



A Bible (any translation, though we recommend the Jewish Publication Society translation)

Other materials will be provided.


Pre-requisites, Requirements, and Assessment:

This course is taught jointly with the Departments of Music and Religion; no pre-requisites.

Students will be expected to complete all assignments, to participate actively in class, and to review all recordings. Assessment will be based upon a mid-term and final comprising short answer questions and a short essay. A paper may be submitted in lieu of the final with permission of the instructors.





Aug. 25           Introduction; begin text of Genesis 1

Aug. 30           Genesis 1

Sept. 1             Genesis 2 and 3

Sept. 6             Haydn’s “Creation”

Sept. 8             Haydn’s “Creation”

Sept. 13           Copland’s “In the Beginning”


Noah’s Flood and the Akeda

Sept. 15           Genesis 6:5 – chapter 7

Sept. 20           Genesis 8 and 9

Sept. 22           Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde

Sept. 27           The Binding / Sacrifce of Isaac: Genesis 22

Sept. 29           Britten’s “Canticle II/War Requiem”


Lamentations and Absalom

 (Oct. 4            no classes; Rosh HaShana)

Oct. 6              II Kings 22-25; Jeremiah 27-28, 37, 44

(Oct. 11           no classes: Fall Break)

Oct. 13           Lamentations

Oct. 18           Tallis’ “Lamentations of Jeremiah I and II”

Oct. 20           the story of Absalom: II Samuel 13-19

Oct. 25           Weelkes, Tomkins, and Whitacre, “When David Heard that Absalom was Slain”



Oct. 27           Psalms 23, 131, 133

Nov. 1             Bernstein, “Chichester Psalms” (Psalm 108 and 100; 23 and 2; 131 and 133)

Nov. 3             Psalm 38-39

Nov. 8             Stravinsky, “Symphony of Psalms” (38, 40, 150)

Nov. 10           Psalm 44 or 109

Nov. 15           TBA


The Life and Death of Jesus

Nov. 17           the Synoptic Gospels

Nov. 22           the Gospel of John

(Nov. 24          no classes; Thanksgiving)

Nov. 29           Allegri’s “Miserere”

Dec. 1              Gibbons’ “This is the Record of John”


Conclusion – Dec. 6


Final due – Dec. 00