R. Christopher Teichler, Composer

My Five Favorite Sacred Works

As a composer, church musician and professor at a seminary, I am naturally drawn to the sacred works of the classical music tradition. One day I hope to make my contributions to this wonderful tradition of musical excellence and devout faith, but in the meantime, I continually dig in to the past masterpieces for inspiration and devotion. 

While there are countless sacred works of the past that are worth studying and performing, I find myself returning to a handful of these on a regular basis. These five pieces always refresh my spirit, inspire my creativity, encourage and challenge my faith, and keep me humble! Today, these five works are in the following order (it could very well be different tomorrow!), along with the twitter standard 140 character explanation.

5. Elijah - Felix Mendelssohn

With stirring choruses like "Thanks Be to God," and lyrical arias like "For the Mountains Shall be Broken," "Elijah" features rich variety. 


4. Requiem - Maurice Duruflé 

"Sanctus" and "In Paradisum" are stunning selections in this rich and colorful setting. Durufle echoes  Debussy, Ravel and Faure. Gorgeous.

3. St. Matthew Passion - Johann Sebastien Bach

Masterpiece in every sense of the word. How Bach varies "O Sacred Head" throughout, the arias, the choruses; perhaps Bach's greatest. SDG. 

2. Symphony of Psalms - Igor Stravinsky

Double fugue, radical orchestration for the time, perfect balance of Igor's barbarism (held at bay!) with lyricism that he rarely visited. 

1. Messiah - George Frideric Handel

The legendary speed of composition, the unforgettable choruses, a musical work of Christian apologetics at the height of the Enlightenment. 

So, that is my list. Did I forget anything? Am I way off on some or all? I would love to hear any and all feedback. Regardless, I hope that visiting or re-visiting any of these pieces will refresh your mind and spirit as they do for me. 

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