Igor Stravinsky once wrote: "The church knew what the Psalmist knew: music praises God. Music is as well or better able to praise Him than the building of the church and all its decorations; it is the church's greatest ornament." That glittering ornament is the central theme of this salutary overview of 2,000 years of sacred music. Patrick Kavanaugh, director of the Christian Performing Artists' Fellowship, has divided the book into three sections: from Hebrew psalms to the Renaissance, from Baroque to hymnology, and the twentieth century and the advent of recorded music.
The author is a gifted musicologist who has included brief biographies of musicians, composers, and performers along with recommended recordings. Among the amazing array of sacred music discussed or accentuated are Guillaume de Machaut's "Messe de Notre Dame," Henry Purcell's "Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day," Antonio Vivaldi's "Gloria," Martin Luther's hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," the gospel music of Thomas Dorsey, Larry Norman's "Upon This Rock," and albums by Amy Grant and John Michael Talbot.