Picture yourself seated in the audience at Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, on April 11, 1727. The Passion According to St. Matthew, by Johann Sebastian Bach, unfolds upon the stage for its first public performance, prestaging hundreds of similar productions in the years to come.
The emotional impact of Tyndale: a Reformation Oratorio by Dr. Joshua Bauder mirrored for me the experience the crowd at Thomaskirche must have felt on that day. The Deo Cantamus Festival Choir, Orchestra, and children's choir transported us back to the sixteenth century. Under the direction of composer Josh Bauder, the life and work of William Tyndale came to life musically. We thrilled at the account of his translation of the Bible into English, lamented his execution, and rejoiced in the answer to his final prayer-- “Open the King of England’s Eyes.”
Bauder would undoubtedly balk at the comparison with Bach. In the Tyndale program notes he wrote, “Reducing Tyndale’s life and work to a digestible scale and transforming them into a musical oratorio have presented daunting problems which I have only imperfectly solved, but at no point have I doubted the worthiness of my topic.” After hearing Tyndale, and being awed by the thematic accord and compositional craft of the presentation, no comparison to any other composer seems necessary. Simply hearing the piece remains commendation enough.
Tyndale, A Reformation Oratorio, deserves wide distribution. Every religious institution in the nation should consider adding it to their repertoire. Early in 2020 Deo Cantamus will launch a campaign to fund the recording and distribution of both Tyndale and another Dr. Bauder work, Songs for the Unborn. In order to participate in that campaign, go to the Deo Cantamus website and look for “Abundantly Wrought.” (CLICK HERE) In the meantime, treat yourself to an unforgettable musical experience and listen to the live performance of Tyndale: A Reformation Oratorio on YouTube (CLICK HERE).