Two hybrid works of genre and musical era. An ode to flowers: the "poetry of Christ."
The tried-and-true Baroque chorale prelude receives a jazz/gospel veneer in William Bolcom's "Jesus Calls Us; O'er the Tumult" from Gospel Preludes. The melody of this 19th century hymn of invitation soars above the jazz-inflected accompaniment on the hoary Cornet stop combination.
The recognizable toccata form has been in use since the late Renaissance. Italian for "to touch," it is characterized by rapid or continuous motion meant to display the performer's technique. Organist Hans-André Stamm offers a toccata on the 17th century German chorale "Lobe den Herren, meine Seele" (Praise the Lord, My Soul) but with a distinct Latin pulse in the left hand and pedal. A lively and spicy finish to Sunday worship!
Benjamin Britten composed his well known cantata Rejoice in the Lamb in 1943. Culled from the 18th century poem Jubilate Agno by poet Christopher Smart, the texts reveal an unbalanced yet deeply religious man. Written in part while confined in an asylum, Smart relates how the entirety of creation praises God by simply being true to its own nature. Cantor Lucas Jackson offers the tenor solo "For the Flowers Are Great Blessings" from this work during the Musical Offering. A leisurely yet tender tribute to nature's expression of the divine:
For the flowers are great blessings...For there is a language of flowers.
For the flowers are peculiarly the poetry of Christ.
Each week, Director of Music Mark Heiskanen writes a Music Minute previewing the upcoming Sunday's musical offerings and occasionally opines on other music-related topics.
We are blessed by an engaging music program at Plymouth!
Mark Heiskanen has been Plymouth's Director of Music since September 2017. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Mark has experience and great interest in a diverse range of musical styles including jazz, rock, musical theatre, and gospel. He is thrilled to serve a congregation and staff that values diversity and inclusion in all facets of life.