To the early Baroque period we go this Sunday morning with selections from across the European continent.
From the Netherlands, a set of variations on the 16th century Lutheran hymn "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr" (To God Alone on High be Glory) by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621). Sweelinck spent the majority of his life in Amsterdam as a renowned organist and teacher. His students and influence would help create the North German organ tradition to follow resulting in luminaries such as Dietrich Buxtehude, Friedrich Zachow, and J.S. Bach. French Baroque organ music developed quite differently from other European traditions, emphasizing color and ornamentation over counterpoint. The "Elevation" from Francois Couperin's "Mass for the Convents" demonstrates this beautifully with sweet flute tones supporting a melody on a Tierce combination stop with pedals providing only harmonic undertones. Francois Couperin was the most well-known member of his family's musical dynasty which spanned nearly 150 years. A similar musical lineage occurred in Germany with the Bachs, of course, but also in the Pachelbel family, prominently Johann and his sons Wilhelm Hieronymus and Charles Theodore. The father, famously known for his "Canon in D," wrote organ works influenced by southern German composers such as Forberger and the Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi. His works were succinct and direct, as evidenced in "Toccata in E Minor."
The Chancel Choir offers a decidedly non-Baroque work by Mark Miller in "God Has Work for Us to Do". It is a call to action in a world rife with injustice and corruption. A welcome complement to this month's focus on stewardship and support for the mission of Plymouth.