Happy Easter!

Catch the excitement of Christ’s Resurrection with Bach’s famous Easter Oratorio! Because He is risen, every sunrise is a promise of the believer’s own resurrection. As Bach aptly stated in the final chorus, “Hell and devil are conquered, its gates are destroyed. Rejoice, you rescued tongues, so that you are heard in heaven.” He has risen, indeed!

English Translation, thanks to Emmanuel Music:

1. Sinfonia

2. Aria (Duet) T B
Come, hurry and run, you speedy feet,
reach the cavern which conceals Jesus!
Laugter and merriment
accompanies our hearts,
since our Savior is risen again.
Come, hurry and run, you speedy feet,
reach the cavern which conceals Jesus!
Laugter and merriment
accompanies our hearts,
since our Savior is risen again.

3. Recitative (Mary Magdalene [A], Mary Jacobi [S], Peter [T], John [B])

Mary Magdalene
O cold hearts of men!
Where has your love gone,
that you owe to the Savior?

Mary Jacobi
A weak woman must put you to shame!

Alas, a troubled grieving

and anxious heartache

Peter, John
along with salty tears
and woeful longing
were intended as a salve for Him.

Mary Jacobi, Mary Magdalene
Which you, like us, prepared in vain.

4. Aria S
O soul, your spices
shall no longer be myrrh.
For only
crowning with the laurel wreath
will quiet your anxious longing.

5. Recitative (Peter [T], John [B], Mary Magdalene [A])

Here is the grave

and here the stone
which sealed it.
Where, however, can my Savior be?

Mary Magdalene
He is risen from the dead!
We encountered an angel
who gave us these tidings.

Here I behold, with pleasure,
His shroud lying tossed aside.

6. Aria T
Gentle shall my death-throes be,
only a slumber,
Jesus, because of your shroud.
Indeed, it will refresh me there,
and the tears of my suffering
it will tenderly wipe from my cheeks.

7. Recitative (Duet) S A
Meanwhile we sigh
with burning desire:

Ah, could it only happen soon,
to see the Savior ourselves!

8. Aria A
Tell me, tell me quickly,
say where I can find Jesus,
whom my soul loves!
O come, come, embrace me;
for without You my heart is
completely orphaned and wretched.

9. Recitative B
We are delighted
that our Jesus lives again,
and our hearts,
which first dissolved and floated in grief,
forget the pain
and imagine songs of joy;
for our Savior lives again.

10. Chorus
Praise and thanks
remain, Lord, your hymn of praise.
Hell and devil are conquered,
its gates are destroyed.
Rejoice, you rescued tongues,
so that you are heard in heaven.
Open, o heavens, your magnificent drawbridges,
the Lion of Judah approaches in triumph!

The Gospel according to Bach

Most of Bach’s cantatas are sacred choral compositions set to music. Imagine being in his congregation and hearing the new compositions each week from this prolific composer of sacred music. Bach became known as the “Master of the Cantata” with more than 200 of his cantatas still in existence. Sadly, however, approximately half have been lost over the past three centuries.


Johann Sebastian Bach wrote with one goal in mind and stated in his early years that “the aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging.” Bach attributed the beauty of his music to God, by writing the letters “S.D.G.” or “Soli Deo Gloria” in many of his scores. As a devout Christian, the story of God’s redemption and love is told over and over in Bach’s cantatas. A past recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize has called Bach’s cantatas the Fifth Gospel.

Being composed in German, Bach’s message has been hidden from most of the English world over the past three centuries. Unless one studied German, the message seldom came through. Here are the English translations of a few of his cantatas that show us his doctrine and point us towards redemption and salvation which is found in Jesus Christ alone.

1. BWV 20 – O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort: O eternity, you word of thunder

2. BWV 109 – Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben: I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief

3. BWV 80 – Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott: Our God is a secure fortress

Listen to Bach’s 800 year old choir singing one of his cantatas in his church in Leipzig.


A Bach marathon

New York City’s classical music station, WQXR, is conducting a Bach marathon this week. It has been a source of inspiration as I go to sleep and wake to the incredible music of Johann Sebastian Bach. This internet radio station is eager to hear everyone’s Bach story.

As a young lad I was destined to take weekly piano lessons. My parents were determined that their children were going to learn music. Our growing family of 7 children traveled from the hinterland of Alberta’s vast prairie to the “big” city of Camrose, which had a population of 5,000 and was 45 miles away, to take those dreaded piano lessons. A Canadian winter never seemed to stop us either. I remember the highway having a thick coat of ice on it, to the point where one could hardly stand up, let alone walk. It was a good thing that most prairie highways were straight and that we had studs in our winter tires. We were prepared for the worst blizzard that an Alberta clipper could bring in order to learn how to play a piano.

Mrs. Bakken exuded music. She was the accomplished sister of one of those saints in our church who could be heard singing above the whole congregation and always gave a word of encouragement to others. My older brother had started piano lessons when the Bakkens lived on their farm many miles away, but they eventually sold their farm and moved to the city. Form was important to Mrs. Bakken, and I had to do finger and hand exercises to make sure my fingers would “step high” on the piano keyboard. I had a tendency to exert too much force into my playing and she would sometimes demonstate the right touch by running her fingers up and down my forearm. My arms couldn’t flap either, so she made me hold scribblers under both arms to keep them close to my sides. Everything had to be played to the steady beat of the metronome. I had to take theory and prepare for the feared itinerant music examiner who came out from the Royal Conservatory of Music to conduct the annual piano and theory exams.

The biggest inspiration for me was attempting to complete a book of Bach’s music. Mrs. Bakken promised me a Bach figurine when I finished all the pieces in this daunting first book of Bach’s piano music. I remember some interesting notes written above the pieces telling short stories about Bach or with some short poetic phrases from the lyrics. Unfortunately I never got the coveted figurine as my music teacher had to quit teaching  when she experienced overload from struggling with a rebellious teenage son at that time. The impact of Mrs. Bakken, however, lives on in me today and I remember her best for putting her heart and soul into her piano students and for her love of Bach. By the way, I still have that tattered and taped music book of Bach’s piano music!


A gift more than 3 centuries old

Johann Sebastian Bach was born 328 years ago this week. It has been exciting to share in some of the related musical clips and posts from around the globe. Today’s technology would certainly amaze this musical genius if he were alive today. It’s hard to imagine what more impact his life would have made on music if he had had the tools that we enjoy today.


Made an orphan at the age of 9, he went on to live with his older brother, Johann Christoph Bach. The story is told about the young composer’s curiosity, late one night, when the household was asleep, he retrieved a manuscript (which may have been a collection of works by Johann Christoph’s former mentor, Johann Pachelbel) from his brother’s music cabinet and began to copy it by the moonlight. This went on nightly until Johann Christoph heard the young Sebastian playing some of the distinctive tunes from his private library, at which point the elder relative demanded to know how Sebastian had discovered them.

He grew up to become the greatest composer of music who has ever lived. Bach stated that “the aim and final reason of all music should be none else but the glory of God and refreshing the soul.” No doubt, his eternal reward will be great! His musical genius is still grabbing my attention 328 years after the gift of Bach was given to us. Enjoy a small part of the beautiful cantata, Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, which means “God alone shall have my heart”. I pray that will be so.

BWV 169 Gott soll allein mein Herze haben – English translation

A platform for the performers

To accommodate the orchestra players and singers who will be performing at this summer’s inaugural Washington Music Festival, we are adding a platform to the front of the inn’s center drive-through portico. We’re anticipating lots of guests and this will provide a barrier-free view of the performing groups from the inn’s front lawn.

The inn will still be able to keep it’s Mount Vernon profile. It will also be a perfect place for George and Martha Washington to tell tales from long ago. The inn’s guests can also enjoy their morning coffee on this sunny sitting area at other times throughout the year.

Here is the proposed design of the platform. Click on the sketch to enlarge for better viewing.

Shape Trial 1-page-0

Victoria and the Olympic Peninsula make music together

Have you ever experienced the incredible Victoria Symphony Splash, performed on a barge in Victoria’s famous Inner Harbour? Approximately 40,000 people gather on the nearby streets and the BC Legislature’s lawn to enjoy this annual event.

Let’s continue the neighborly ties between our cities. Were you aware of the queen city’s 150th anniversary celebration last August, when the iconic Coho Ferry, which runs between Victoria and Port Angeles, had its horn incorporated by the composer, Tobin Stokes, in his celebratory Inner Harbour Overture?

When you attend this annual musical extravaganza, make sure you aren’t on the last ferry back to the Olympic Peninsula. You don’t want to miss its traditional grand finale, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with all the wonderful sights and sounds of this unique venue. Our sister city has so much to share, and we look forward to sharing our new venue over here on the Olympic Peninsula in return.

Victoria residents: Come celebrate Sequim’s Centennial with us at the peak of our lavender season! We’ll even let you catch the last ferry at the end of our inaugural Washington Music Fesival.

Great ideas

Maestro Dewey Ehling has some great ideas for this summer’s inaugural Washington Music Festival. Here is a list of some composers and their works that could be performed in this exciting new venue by members of the various musical groups with which Mr. Ehling collaborates. Bach and Handel were contemporaries of George Washington. Why not bring these three men together again?

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Sheep May Safely Graze


George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Concerti Grossi

Water Music

Royal Fireworks

Henry Purcell

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

The Moor’s Revenge*

arcangelo corelli

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

Concerto Grosso

Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster (1826-1864)

My Old Kentucky Home*

Nelly Bly*

*These are some examples provided by the author of the composer who was suggested.

Meet Dewey Ehling

Dewey Ehling
Dewey Ehling

The Olympic Peninsula’s very own Dewey Ehling, Clallam County’s “music man,” whose efforts stretch across the peninsula from the Port Townsend Community Orchestra to the Port Angeles Symphony and on to the Peninsula Singers, dropped by the inn this morning to liaise about the development of the festival. A walk around the inn with various proposed venues were discussed. Mr. Ehling will now take his thoughts and try to flesh them out to take the event to the next level. Call the inn at 360-452-5207 or email (info@georgewashingtoninn.com) if you know someone who wants to participate or get involved. Dewey Ehling would love to hear from you.

Port Townsend Community Orchestra
Port Townsend Community Orchestra
Port Angeles Symphony
Port Angeles Symphony
Peninsula Singers
Peninsula Singers

Water Music, anyone?

Imagine the strains of Handel’s Water Music wafting with gentle sea breezes from off the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Add to that, a sweet summer fragrance drifting from a field of lavender surrounded by a panorama of snow-capped mountains. Perhaps you would love to be a part of this experience and want to help make it happen. We’re looking for volunteers who are interested in helping to put this exciting new music festival together. Call us or send an email to express your interest and support.


Lovers of baroque music

Are you Interested in baroque music and live in Seattle, Portland, Victoria, Vancouver or other parts of the Northwest or the Lower Mainland? Do you sing, play an instrument or play with a chamber group or orchestra and want to perform in a great venue this summer? Perhaps you know someone who might be interested. We want to hear from you. Send us your suggestions too!

Contact: Dan and Janet Abbott
Phone: 360-452-5207
Email: info@georgewashingtoninn.com

Johann Suggestion Bachs