Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hymnody Review: Gettymusic, Part 3

Getty, Keith, Orchestrator and Conductor. Performed by the Czech Television Studio Orchestra. An Evening in Prague: A Symphonic Tapestry of Worship. Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2005. Audio CD. $9.99.  (H)

Getty, Keith and Kristyn. Songs that Jesus Said: Scripture into Music (20 Songs Helping Kids Engage with the Bible). Gettymusic, 2005. Audio CD. $9.99.  (LHP)

These two recordings, nearly five years old, are the latest for your consideration from Keith Getty.

I had been eager to hear symphonic arrangements of Getty's original hymns and the tunes of others. An Evening in Prague is one answer.

The lush arrangements on this CD are a great introduction to the orchestrating skill of Keith Getty. It is an unique way to hear his own melodies (and those of others) afresh.

  • "God Is Here Prologue" is a a Getty setting of a melody by Lara Martin as is "The Voice of Hope."
  • "Jesus Is Lord" shows a Getty arrangment of a Getty/Townend hymn. Others include the familiar hymn "In Christ Alone," introduced by a strong, stirring string section, "Joy Has Dawned."
  • Listeners may note melodies by Matt Redman, Martyn Layzell, Tim Hughes, Paul Oakley, and Robert Critchley.
  • Two increasingly well-known hymns by Stuart Townend are featured here, "How Deep the Father's Love" and "Beautiful Savior," usually called "All My Days (Beautiful Savior)."
I particularly appreciated the voice leading in these compositions. The melody shines through, always! And Getty deftly passes the melody from instrument to instrument and section to section. Those who know the words to these hymns or songs can sing along with most of the tracks.

QBR readers will know the name John Leavitt. If you love this disc, you will love his many CDs. And, if you love John Leavitt, this is perhaps the best way to get acquainted with Gettymusic.

I welcome future recordings of similar symphonic arrangements!

And for something a little different, consider the following collection of "20 songs helping kids engage with the Bible."

Songs that Jesus Said essentially, is (or could be) VBS music, except that the words are better. Keith and his wife Kristyn Getty collaborated on these Scripture paraphrases and melodies. Arrangements are similar to the "light pop" of typical VBS song. The twenty tracks divide neatly into five four-song sections:
  • Meeting Jesus
  • Things that Jesus taught
  • Friends that Jesus has
  • Following Jesus
  • Jesus' Big Plan
The songs are memorable, singable, kid-friendly, fun, and have excellent Christian content. I appreciated "Better is on day with Jesus," "Have you seen Him?" "Father in Heaven" and "Christ has risen."

This CD is a challenge to Christian publishers to focus less on VBS marketing and cartoon characters and more on content that presents Christ and Scripture.

QBR is aware of new songs for children in progress from Gettymusic. We'll keep you posted.

And blessings to both Keith and Kristyn during their year of additional music training!

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.