Hymnody in the Making: An Interview with Jeff Lippencott and R.C. Sproul
Tabletalk: What are some of the goals of this project?
Jeff Lippencott: “Worthy Is the Lamb” is a beautiful hymn. That hymn is a more traditional melody with a bottom-to-top, vertical look at what heaven will be like as we worship the Lamb. Trying to capture that in music and text is so difficult because I don’t think we can fully conceptualize what that’s going to be like. As R.C. has said to me, there is something that music does that can’t be expressed in a book. It goes somewhere deeper. With these hymns, we try to express ourselves, with the Lord’s help, through songs and let those melodies and lyrics draw us closer to the Lord. That’s the ultimate purpose of why we have written these pieces.
R.C. Sproul: We talked about how there has been a decline in the quality of music. Take the song that is at the top of the charts this week, lock yourself in a room for five hours, and listen to it over and over again. At the end of five hours, you’ll throw the music against the wall. Now, go in there with Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and listen to it for five hours. At the end you’ll be picking up nuances that you missed for the first four hours. It never gets old or stale. There’s a reason why hymns like “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy” have survived for so long. Out of the thousands of hymns that have been written, they’ve endured. Why? It’s because of their content and beauty. Our dream is that one or two of the hymns from this project might still be around a hundred years from now.
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