11. November 2019

Three forms of «doing nothing»: Acedia – crash – leisure / Drei Formen des «Nichts-Tuns»: Acedia – Crash – Musse

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ENGLISH AcediaIn the last TUNE IN, texts by the philosopher Josef Pieper helped us to discover the value of «leisure». Pieper also points out that, in Christianity, «doing nothing» has often been dismissed disparagingly with the word «Acedia». Acedia belonged to the Deadly Sins of the Middle Ages.Strictly speaking, mediaeval theologians certainly did not see every form of «doing nothing» as…
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25. Oktober 2019

Art and leisure / Kunst und Musse

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ENGLISHStressed audience – stressed artistsPeople who go to concerts, theatres, exhibitions or cinemas are looking for a refreshing break in the routine of everyday life. For our everyday life is often hectic and threatens to take over all aspect of life. Sometimes one can hardly draw breath and regain some tranquillity in one’s thoughts. How is it for the artists themselves? Doesn’t…
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07. Oktober 2019

A word for burnt-out artists / Ein Wort für ausgebrannte Künstler

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ENGLISHA couple of days ago,Edgars Mazis shared spiritual reflections with us as part of an ARTS+ conference in Vienna.  Edgars Mazis is a Baptist pastor of a big church in Riga, Latvia. He also leads a discussion group at the National Theatre and another group with actors and musicians (photo) which he organises in collaboration with Guntars Pranis (Crescendo). The main points of his reflections…
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26. September 2019

Bible verses for good and bad days / Bibelverse für gute und schlechte Tage

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ENGLISHBible verses for every dayEvery day, the pastor with whom I spent my first practical training period wrote out for himself a Bible verse on a slip of paper, and this then disappeared somewhere in his jacket. Several times during the course of the day, he took this verse out in order to read it himself or to pass it on while…
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12. September 2019

What does Rembrandt fill our «inner echo chambers» with? / Womit füllt Rembrandt unsere «inneren Echokammern»?

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ENGLISH The last TUNE IN asked the question, “What do we fill our inner echo chambers with?” The famous «Sh’ma Israel» in Deuteronomy 6,4ff. emphasises the importance of remembering God’s deeds. The Bible fills our echo chambers. And since earliest times, Christian art has also played a significant role here. From our own lives, we know that art enriches and leaves an imprint on our…
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16. August 2019

Are we amateurs? / Sind wir Amateure?

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ENGLISH On the first pages of his significant work «Real Presences», the literary scholar and philosopher George Steiner (*1929) emphasises the importance of immediacy in the reception of art. All too often, we seize on secondary scholarly interpretations and thus miss what an amateur (an amator, a lover of art) experiences. Are we still able, for example, to learn texts by memory?Here…
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09. August 2019

“How lovely is your dwelling place” / “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen”

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«This is where my home is» During the final evening of the “Crescendo Summer Institute” two weeks ago, a dear friend said: «You said something wrong when you asked everybody present what they would be taking back home with them. The question should have been this: What am I taking with me from my home here into the world outside? For this is where…
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30. Juli 2019

The friendly artist / Der freundliche Künstler

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Yesterday, the “16th Crescendo Summer Institute” * came to an end. From 24th July to 5th August, 170 music students, 50 teachers and 50 full-time and voluntary staff from 35 countries have come together in Tokaj in eastern Europe. The musical programme consisted, among other things, of master classes for singers and instrumentalists, chamber music, opera scenes, orchestral concerts, jazz for classical musicians,…
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23. Juli 2019

In Art we trust

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ENGLISHProgramme for a culture festival*A culture festival can, and even should, be provocative. The associated PR can also operate with catchy phrases.The large-scale interdisciplinary and multicultural Belluard Festival (27th June-6th July 2019) in Fribourg in Switzerland recently presented this statement in its newsletter: “In Art we trust”. The pertinent text offered this explanation in French: “Art allows us to win back trust in “humanité”. Now,…
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12. Juli 2019

Trustworthy love in an untrustworthy world / Verlässliche Liebe in einer unverlässlichen Welt

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Matthew Arnold: Dover Beach *The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fairUpon the straits; on the French coast the lightGleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.                   …
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05. Juli 2019

Living water / Lebendiges Wasser

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ENGLISH During a stay in Rome in June 2011, I left the city for an afternoon in order to pay a visit to the Villa d’Este in Tivoli. This villa is particularly known for its garden, which counts no less than 100 (!) fountains. The main reason…
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25. Juni 2019

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” / “Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung, sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.”

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For our last shared musical setting of the Lord’s Prayer we have music from Markus Stockhausen, shared with us by my husband, composer and saxophonist Uwe Steinmetz. Uwe writes: “Try to speak along the words of the prayer with Markus Stockhausen´s composition “Our Father” – he brings out so many aspects of the Lords prayer…
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21. Mai 2019

God’s miracles among musicians in Moldova / Gottes Wunder unter Musikern in Moldawien

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ENGLISH In the course of the just finished Crescendo Festival in the Republic of Moldova, I met one of the organisers, Alexandru Sanduleac (photo). He told an unbelievable story which can encourage us to expect great things from God.Alexandru, you began many years ago with a little Bible group of musicians…A: That was in 1992, at the Conservatory in Chisinau, the…
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16. April 2019

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” / “Vergib uns unsere Schuld, wie auch wir vergeben unseren Schuldigern.”

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A late nineteenth-century rendering of the Prodigal Son by James Tissot.Ölgemälde über die Rückkehr des verlorenen Sohnes aus dem späten 19.Jh. von James Tissot  As always, a setting of the Lord’s Prayer, this time one composed by Arvo Pärt.  Wie immer eine Vertonung des Vater Unsers, dieses Mal eine Komposition…
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02. April 2019

“What is left?” / “Was bleibt?”

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ENGLISH“What is left?”This was the question asked by many people following the fire at Notre Dame as they watched in Paris or on the screen. “What is left when there is no church anymore?”: It may be that this unspoken question also occurred to some people. Among them perhaps a number who have never really paid attention to the church or who…
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12. März 2019

“Loveliest of trees” / “Schönster aller Bäume”

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ENGLISHLandscape and beautyPictures of the English countryside near the Welsh border, the harshness and the rewards of farming life, the joys of youth, the wisdom of age, hopes and promises, setbacks and disappointments, all seen through the eyes of a number of figures, most prominent among them a young man, and yet with the shadow of death falling over many of its…
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01. März 2019

“Give us this day our daily bread” II / “Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute” II

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ENGLISH In our last TuneIn* we looked at the petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” but from the account found in the Gospel of Matthew, which focuses more on the blessings of the coming Kingdom of God. In this reflection we will turn toward Luke’s account of the…
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22. Februar 2019

“Give us this day our daily bread” / “Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute”

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ENGLISH The first part of the prayer Jesus gave us* is all about God. We are not to let our own needs and issues dominate prayer; we are rather to prioritize praising and honoring him. Adoration and thanksgiving – God-centeredness – comes first, because it heals the…
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14. Februar 2019

“Your Kingdom Come…” (II) / „Dein Reich komme…“ (II)

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ENGLISH When we pray for the Kingdom of God to come, what are we praying for?   Hallowed be your nameFirst, we can look back at the phrase immediately preceding this petition: hallowed be your name. How can we make God’s name holy, when…
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07. Februar 2019

“Your Kingdom Come…” / „Dein Reich komme…“

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ENGLISH When we pray for the Kingdom of God to come, what are we praying for?   Hallowed be your nameFirst, we can look back at the phrase immediately preceding this petition: hallowed be your name. How can we make God’s name holy, when…
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31. Januar 2019

“Our Father, who art in heaven…” / „Unser Vater im Himmel…“

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ENGLISH The Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father. It’s familiar.  Too familiar, sometimes. Many of us can recite it without even thinking about it, and unfortunately, we often do. It is frequently on our lips— especially for those of us who worship in more traditional liturgical settings— and that is good and right. But with this familiarity comes the risk…
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21. Januar 2019

The great Shakespeare tradition – where is it going now? / Die grosse Shakespeare-Tradition – wie geht’s weiter?

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ENGLISH Shakespeare’s long Christmas   Last week, we heard some thoughts on Epiphany. Immediately before Epiphany comes “Twelfth Night”, the end of the 12 days of Christmas.  In 1601/2, Shakespeare wrote a play with this title. As usual, he did not invent the story, but largely used older material. His success was not due…
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14. Januar 2019

Our word to our readers / Ein Wort an unsere Leser

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Since we began with the TUNE INs in January, 2016, they have appeared every week. We receive a lot of encouraging feedback, which is a great motivation for us to continue.  We have noticed, however, that these weekly appearances are too frequent for many readers. And we, in view of the growing tasks in our Crescendo work, are reaching certain limits on our capacity.  <!--...
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10. Januar 2019

The three kings an us / Die drei Könige und wir

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ENGLISH In the Western Church, 6 January is the day on which the Three Kings are remembered. We read about them in Matthew 2, 1-12. What can this story say to us today?   1.Jesus reveals himself to the outsiders “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to…
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01. Januar 2019

A word for melancholy artists: How are we going into the New Year? / Ein Wort an melancholische Künstler: Wie gehen wir in das neue Jahr?

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Andrzej Turkanik ENGLISH On the threshold of 2019, we are asking ourselves what the New Year may bring. The question may be mixed with a certain sadness that the old year, and thus a further part of our life, has passed by so quickly. This makes us all…
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29. Dezember 2018

A wonderful Christmas song / Ein wunderschönes Weihnachtslied

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With a wonderfully beautiful Christmas composition by the Latvian composer Richards Dubra (*1964), available on our CD “Ich schau Dich staunend an”, and an accompanying interview with the composer (below), we heartily wish our TUNE IN readership of around 2500 in the whole world a blessed Christmas time.  Mit einem wunderschönen Weihnachtslied des lettischen Komponisten Richards Dubra (*1964) von…
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18. Dezember 2018

What do angels play when they are off duty? / Was spielen Engel, wenn sie unter sich sind?

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ENGLISH On 10th December, 1968, exactly 50 years ago, Karl Barth, one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, died. In one of his early writings, “The Letter to the Romans”, he directed sharp words against any mixing of human ideology with the word of God. Together with the “Confessing Church”, Barth raised his voice against National Socialism. With…
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10. Dezember 2018

When complete strangers tell an artist the most personal things / Wenn wildfremde Menschen einem Künstler persönlichste Dinge erzählen

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ENGLISH In the Crescendo network there are many outstanding organists who bless others with their work in churches, concerts and teaching positions. In recent weeks we have had memorable meetings with organists who recounted events from their lives and service – and also showed us their instruments (including the organ in Cologne Cathedral).  One of the organists was Chelsea Chen,…
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03. Dezember 2018

What is the task we artists have? A meditation after Luke 4, to be read as a dialogue / Welchen Auftrag haben wir Künstler? Eine Meditation nach Lukas 4, im Dialog zu lesen

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ENGLISH Artist: I often ask myself, “What in fact is the task of art?” I am not satisfied with the answer given by many colleagues when they say, “I serve art! And art helps mankind!” As a Christian, I would like to have other thoughts.   Voice: There are many answers to your question. I am sure you are thinking…
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29. November 2018

Gabriele Münter’s “Still Life Pentecost” / Gabriele Münters “Stillleben Pfingsten”

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ENGLISH The Ludwig Collection in Cologne is currently giving an insight into the work of Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) in a large exhibition under the title “Painting to the Point”. Münter was a cen­tral fig­ure of German Expressionism and the Blue Rid­er artist group, which was found­ed at her house in Mur­nau. Besides wonderful landscapes and portraits, one is struck by some still life paintings,…
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21. November 2018

TUNE IN 282 Does a synthesis of Christ and culture exist? / Gibt es eine Synthese von Christus und Kultur?

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ENGLISH What thoughts do we Christians have about culture? And how do the creators of culture perceive the church? The answers to these questions are connected to theological reflections on the topic of “art and culture” and to the church’s conceptual and concrete responses. Reinhold Niebuhr’s categories in “Christ and Culture” help us to find an orientation here and to reconsider…
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14. November 2018

The Christ of Culture / Der Kultur-Christus

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ENGLISH Convert to Mendelssohn !? What was the designer thinking about as he worked on advertising for the Bach Choir in Basel and chose the motto “Let yourself be converted – to Mendelssohn”? What were those in charge of the Bach Choir hoping to achieve? Perhaps not much. Or something like this: “Today one can no longer take the message of…
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07. November 2018

Small goals kill us / Kleine Ziele bringen uns um

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ENGLISH There are people who have a special gift of faith, as Paul writes in 1st Corinthians, 12,9. Such people can encourage us to invest faith in places where everything seems hopeless. If this gift of faith is exercised with love, an open heart, and without any claim of authority, it does not produce an unhealthy pressure to believe. A…
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01. November 2018

Good news for bad Christians! / Gute Botschaft für schlechte Christen!

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ENGLISH Repeatedly I hear this phrase: “I’m just not such a good Christian!” Many artists in particular think this way. They compare themselves, for example, with the good Christians in their church congregation who are pursuing a “proper” career and do not sing Lady Macbeth on the opera stage on Monday, beat a member of the theatre company to death, or pose…
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15. Oktober 2018

Building bridges / Brücken bauen

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ENGLISH How can I speak about faith? “How can I speak about faith?” A question I hear repeatedly from artists. It is a good question! But then I ask for more details: “Do you mean using art to speak about faith? If yes, is this something you really want to do? Or are you asking because you think that art has…
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04. Oktober 2018

Cross your fingers, knock on wood, or bless? / Toi toi toi, Holzklopfen oder Segen?

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ENGLISH The subject of the last TUNE IN was encouragement. In the Bible we also read of blessing. But what is blessing really?  What exactly do we receive when the pastor stretches out his hands at the end of the church service and blesses the congregation? Or when someone writes to us or says, “I wish you a shower of blessings”? Is…
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26. September 2018

Encouragment / Ermutigung

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ENGLISH One of the most important and most beautiful fruits of fellowship among artists is mutual encouragement. Not a one-way street Encouragement should not be a one-way street. It is easy to expect encouragement from others (from an audience, for example), but very much more difficult to overcome one’s self-centredness and to praise others. “Love until it hurts” was Mother Teresa’s maxim. This…
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21. September 2018

Paintbrush and film-camera, violin and dancing shoes, awake! / Pinsel und Filmkamera, Violine und Tanzschuhe, wacht auf! (Psalm 57)

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ENGLISH “Psaltery and harp, awake!”, the church sings in the original German version of “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Joachim Neander (1680) or in the eponymous Bach choral cantata BWV 137 (1725).   What does this metaphor mean? Why and how should the instruments awake? By the way, is the same statement applicable…
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06. September 2018

Destructive genius?! / Zerstörerische Genialität?!

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ENGLISH In TUNE IN 272, we spoke of a culture-rejecting attitude as encountered among certain theologians and entire denominational traditions. It is easy to criticise this attitude. But do not let us be too glib in our criticism! The power of the Christian faith – including its power to attract – develops not when it is constantly “being conformed to the…
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30. August 2018

Where separation is important / Wo Abgrenzung wichtig ist

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ENGLISH Do not love the world As we mentioned in TUNE IN 271, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (“Christ and Culture”, 1951) identifies five different categories of relationship between Christianity and culture. Initially, he points out that Christians have at times separated themselves radically from the surrounding culture. The biblical starting point for this is John 2,15: “Do…
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22. August 2018

Christ against culture? “Enter through the narrow gate…” / Christus gegen die Kultur? “Gehet ein durch die enge Pforte…”

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ENGLISH In the pre-conference for the recently held “Crescendo Summer Institute” (LINK),  35 participants discussed different aspects of “Christianity and culture”. When one looks at the history of theology and the church more closely, it becomes evident that the relationship between “Christianity and culture” can be defined in differing ways and accordingly takes…
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15. August 2018

Artworks as our companions – No. 3 / Kunstwerke, die uns begleiten – Nr. 3

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Which good work of art – which picture, which piece of music, which poem, which story, which choreography accompanies you in your life and faith? Please send us a short text with a few personal words on your chosen artwork (to info@crescendo.org). Include a link to the corresponding artwork…
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07. August 2018

Which light shines brighter? – Which artist is greater? / Welches Licht schient heller? Welcher Künstler ist grösser?

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ENGLISH  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in…
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02. August 2018

Artworks as our companions – No. 2 / Kunstwerke, die uns begleiten – Nr. 2

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Which good work of art – which picture, which piece of music, which poem, which story, which choreography accompanies you in your life and faith? Please send us a short text with a few personal words on your chosen artwork (to info@crescendo.org). Include a link to the corresponding artwork…
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20. Juli 2018

Artworks as our companions – No. 1 / Kunstwerke, die uns begleiten – Nr. 1

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  ENGLISH Which good work of art – which picture, which piece of music, which poem, which story, which choreography accompanies you in your life and faith? Let us put this question to our readers during the summer weeks – and beyond. Our assumption here is that there are artworks which leave an impression on our faith and which accompany us intensively…
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04. Juli 2018

Able to play / Spielen können

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ENGLISH The World Cup, or the joy of playing Currently, the World Cup in football is captivating millions of spectators. Despite all the shady sides and aberrations in this commercialised sport, this game with the small, round piece of leather is a source of joy not only for our male contemporaries. Art – a game, or…
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27. Juni 2018

“…Far from the mark we stray” The message of the famous Evening Poem by Matthias Claudius / „…Und kommen weiter von dem Ziel“ Die Botschaft des berühmten Abendlieds von Matthias Claudius

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ENGLISH It is one of the most beautiful poems and, with the melody by Johann Schulz (1747-1800), is one of the most deeply felt songs in the German language: the Evening Poem by Matthias Claudius (1740-1832). It was published in 1779 and even today has lost none of its power. 1 The silent moon is risen,  The golden star-fires…
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20. Juni 2018

Artists – Apostles of Beauty / Künstler – Botschafter der Schönheit

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ENGLISH SCHØN – an unusual conference Last weekend, a German-language conference on the topic “BEAUTIFUL” . Even the use of the Swedish script in the word “SCHØN” suggests that one should get ready for something unusual. The whole thing was organised by the House of Prayer in Augsburg under the leadership of Dr. Johannes Hartl, supported by the involvement…
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13. Juni 2018

Flamingos

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ENGLISH In the Creative Church * in St. Paul’s Church in Basel on 10th June, Pastor Fredy Staub held an original sermon.   Very close to death A few years ago, he was in hospital with a highly dangerous disease. He lay in a small room – facing death. At the same time, however, he could see…
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05. Juni 2018

“I had to cry during the Shostakovich Flute solo” / „Ich musste beim Schostakowitsch-Flötensolo weinen“

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ENGLISH In Crescendo Teachers’ Conference which has just finished in Birmingham, there were many interesting talks and encouraging reports. Here are some quotations – rendered so as to give the broad sense – on the power of prayer, taken from the abundance of valuable contributions.   Prayer before teaching “There are difficult days as a music teacher. One pupil after another…
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29. Mai 2018

The rusty Christ-figure / Der rostige Christus

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ENGLISH Swiss media have been full of this story in recent days: at Pentecost, the probably most prominent Protestant pastor in the country died at the age of 91. And everyone is praising the main work of his life. “He saved my life,” say many. Who was Pastor Ernst Sieber (1927-2018), and why is his name appearing in the TUNE INs, which…
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22. Mai 2018

After Pentecost / Nach Pfingsten

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ENGLISH These festivals of the church year lie behind us: Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost. Now everyday routine “threatens” again. But, interestingly, the Christian faith is in fact a faith for everyday life. Here are some thoughts on this. Christianity begins on a day like any other!  In every movement, the direction is set at the beginning. Christianity begins on a…
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15. Mai 2018

Cultural Renewal; Quotes by Timothy Keller about the role of „Christian artists“ / Erneuerung der Kultur; Zitate von Timothy Keller über die Rolle “christlicher Künstler”

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ENGLISH About “Cultural renewal” “I am often asked, “Should Christians be involved in shaping culture?” My answer is, “We can’t not be involved in shaping culture.” But I prefer the term “cultural renewal” to “culture shaping” or “cultural transformation.” For a possible model, think about the monks in the Middle Ages, who moved out through pagan Europe, inventing and establishing academies, universities,…
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08. Mai 2018

Makrothumia – a forgotten virtue? / Makrothymia – eine vergessene Tugend?

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ENGLISH Turning one’s back on culture? There are certain statements which I repeatedly hear from artists who are Christians, such as “I can no longer identify with worldly culture. I am distancing myself from it and beginning something of my own.” – In concrete terms, this can mean, for example, ‘I am turning my back on art and going into…
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01. Mai 2018

TE DEUM by John Featherstone A reconciliation of Classical, Jazz and Gospel / TE DEUM von John Featherstone Eine Zusammenführung von Klassik, Jazz und Gospel

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ENGLISH We have asked the French-based musician and composer John Featherstone to give the background of his new work.   A chord in the night ‘As a composer, what would you most regret not having written before your retired?’ ‘My setting of the Te Deum,’ I replied without hesitation to the relative stranger who asked me. That night I woke up with a complex…
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24. April 2018

The important echo to the “Echo” / Das wichtige Echo auf den “Echo”

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ENGLISH Prize-winning anti-Semitism A couple of years ago we found the jury of the German “Echo” prize great when they selected two of our friends, the Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki and the Austrian singer Miriam Feuersinger, for awards. A few days ago, however, the enthusiasm gave way to sheer dismay. On 12th April, of all days, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the album…
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18. April 2018

“It has to be God or it’s all nonsense” An interview with Patrick Kavanaugh (1954-2018) / „Da muss Gott eingreifen – oder es ist totaler Unsinn“ Ein Interview mit Patrick Kavanaugh (1954-2018)

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ENGLISH A few days ago, the conductor, composer and author Patrick Kavanaugh, for many years the leader of the Christian “MasterWorks Festival” in the USA, passed away. This unexpected and painful loss of a friend who was an important mentor for countless musicians caused us to search through our in-house archive and look again at an interview in an early number of the…
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20. März 2018

“Framed by God” Thoughts on an image on Psalm 139 / „Umrahmt von Gott“ Eine Bildbetrachtung zu Psalm 139

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ENGLISH The artist Anita Sieber has created a series of Psalm images. She exhibited some of them on 11th March, 2018, in the “Creative Church” in Basel. The sermon reflected on them. Here are some (shortened) thoughts on Psalm 139. “You know when I sit and when I arise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;…
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13. März 2018

A modern psalm at the Brit Awards 2018 / Ein moderner Psalm bei den Brit Awards 2018

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ENGLISH A few days ago, the Brit Award 2018 was given. Astonishingly, the title “best artist” did not go, as expected, to Ed Sheeran, but to the rapper Stormzy (*1993, real name Michael Omari). His debut album “Gang Signs & Prayer” came out in February 2017, and reached number one in the British charts. The album includes a modern psalm, “Blinded by…
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