More about Choral and Organ Music from Sacred Classics

The singing human voice is a unique musical instrument — it alone can make music and express words simultaneously. When many voices are joined together in song, the resulting music can have a powerful effect on the listener, touching the deepest emotions and uplifting the spirit. Throughout written history, group singing has been part of life in worship and entertainment. Over three thousand years ago, Moses led the Israelites in celebrating their deliverance from bondage in Egypt by singing unto the Lord "for He hath triumphed gloriously and become my salvation" (Exodus 15:1). Later, amidst the splendor of King Solomon's temple, a choir of 2,000 sang psalms in worship of God. The early Christian church at Ephesus (in modern day Turkey) was instructed by St. Paul to "sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord in psalms and hymns" (Ephesians 5:19). In his vision of Heaven, St. John wrote that he heard singing around the throne of God (Revelation 5:9). Famous classical composers of the past three hundred years, such as Bach, Handel, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn, have given us a rich treasure of choral music.

The pipe organ is called "The King of Instruments" for its incomparable size, dynamic range, and variety of tonal colors. It is a memorable experience to hear one of the very largest organs played by a real virtuoso, such as the magnificent instrument at the famed Riverside Church in New York City (left). From the softest sound of an ethereal string rank to the floor–shaking rumbling of a 32 foot–long bombarde pipe, majestic organ music challenges even the highest-end stereo sound system to its ultimate dynamic range and frequency response—an audiophile's delight! Large pipe organs have four or more manuals (or keyboards) and more than a hundred drawknobs or stops controlling thousands of pipes, hence the expression "to pull out all stops" — meaning to go all-out or full volume. For the largest pipe organs in the world, see our exclusive list, The "Top 20" Largest pipe organs.

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