Ars Orandi, Ars Credendi

Eric Barnhart

Contemplative piano: all great music makes you feel; some great music makes you think.

Ars Orandi, Ars Credendi is Eric Barnhart’s seventh album scheduled to release November 1, 2016. While no stranger to the recording process, this is only Eric’s second release to have a decidedly contemplative bent, and it’s in this genre that he plans to stay.

From Eric: “My first foray into recording contemplative music, As We Forgive Our Debtors, was a hymns project I recorded in 2011. It was comprised entirely of solo piano improvised arrangements of favorite hymns I’ve sang and led in different worship contexts over the years. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making every album I’ve released, …Debtors has been the one that, time and again, people express a desire to hear more of in that vein.

“Ars Orandi, Ars Credendi is my answer to that request. I’ve been pursuing a Master’s degree in Worship Studies for the last year. The concepts we’ve been discussing and reading on have combined with desires and ambitions that have been fermenting in me for years and even decades. New monasticism, ecumenism and reconciliation, a heart for local community, a love for mystery, story and mission, and my life pursuit of listening intently for the music of the moment and seeking to give it voice have all combined in this strange alchemical brew that’s – sometimes more than a bit uncomfortably – definitively ‘me.’ It’s a single barrel run of my artistic soul.”

The resulting ideological and musical confluence is a twelve-track album of entirely solo piano with mostly improvised arrangements. Each song takes its name from an element commonly found in Christian worship. “For two millennia and across the world, Christians have been doing church. What may surprise some is that the essential aspects of Christian worship are found almost universally in every well-known representation of Christianity. The third song entitled “Assurance,” for example, is found in every denomination, affiliation, era, what-have-you; God assures His people of his love for them. My version here is an extension of that assurance as I’ve lived and interacted with it.

“My vision for this album overall was to capture the essence of these ‘worship moments’ and express them in a musical way, drawing from multiple cultural contexts and personal experience, in an effort to say how I personally find them meaningful. My hope is that, as I tell this particular story, others will feel shared sentiments and hear new perspectives on ancient words, regardless of their spiritual orientation. In a time where we are in desperate need of greater unity and understanding, this is my own small attempt at offering the same.”

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