On this first Sunday of our Lenten observance, two dramatic organ works from the Baroque period will be played. The "Chaconne in E Minor" by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) offers inspired variations over a ground bass. The "Dialogue sur les grands jeux" from Suite du premier ton by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749) completes the morning services on a grand French high Baroque note.
During the 9:00 a.m. communion time, soprano Blair Carpenter sings a solo version of the Stephen Paulus choral anthem "The Road Home." Based on the folk tune "The Lone Wild Bird" from The Southern Harmony Companion of 1835, the text was written by Michael Browne in 2001 and speaks to returning home after being lost in the proverbial wilderness.
At the 11:00 a.m. choral service, the Chancel Choir offers "The Spheres" by Ola Gjeilo. This work is a selection from our March 16 Alice Tully Hall concert in New York City celebrating the music of Ola Gjeilo. It is an a cappella setting of the first movement from Gjeilo's 2008 Sunrise Mass.
At the 6:00 p.m. Dinner Church service, cantor Blair Carpenter and I lead you in songs by Iona Community composer John Bell and songs of wilderness travel.
On this Transfiguration Sunday, the last Sunday of the Epiphany season, compositions from the French masters will be offered. At the Prelude, movement one from Sonata in A Minor, Opus 60, the "Allegro marcato", by Marcel Dupré will be played featuring cellist Heidi Mausbach. Composed in 1964, this excerpt exhibits a fine example of Dupré's chromatic harmonic language and sense of drama. At the Postlude, Litanies by Jehan Alain sends us out into the world and foreshadows the Lenten observance ahead. His performance instruction at the top of the score speaks to us in this time of the liturgical year: When the Christian soul is in distress and cannot find any fresh words to implore God’s mercy, it repeats the same prayer unceasingly with overwhelming faith. The limit of reason is past. It is faith alone which propels its ascent.
The Plymouth Ringers offer "New Life" by Matt Johnson. Joined by cellist Heidi Mausbach, the work was written in honor of the birth of the composer's son.
The Chancel Choir sings Ola Gjeilo's "Prelude", a selection from our upcoming March 16 performance at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City.
At 6:00 p.m., music of dreams and transformation by Coldplay and David Bowie will be offered. Cantor Blair Carpenter, guitarist Alan Skowron and bassist Peter Strening join us.
It is Celtic Night at this Sunday evening's 6:00 p.m. service! Now offered on the third Sunday of each month, we will enjoy the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the British Isles and celebrate the Ionian Community of Scotland and Celtic Spirituality, both of which have strong ties here at Plymouth. This week, I am joined by cantor Blair Carpenter, bodhrán player Michael Hamilton and flutist Rebecca Quillen. Come and join us in a time of evening prayer and Celtic music. Slàinte!
During the morning services, we will hear the first three movements from Organ Sonata No. 2 in C Minor by Felix Mendelssohn: Grave, Adagio and Allegro maestoso e vivace. His six sonatas are considered pinnacles of the organ repertoire on par with the works of J.S. Bach. Mendelssohn drew much inspiration from Bach and was a driving force in renewing interest in his compositions, which had fallen out of favor in the public sphere for decades. Two settings of the Martin Luther chorale "Vater unser im Himmelreich" (Our Father in Heaven) by J.S. Bach will be played during the 9:00 a.m. communion. This chorale tune was also the basis for a set of variations in Mendelssohn's Organ Sonata No. 6 in D Minor.
At 11:00 a.m., the Chancel Choir offers up "In the Morning, Joy," a lively and spirited anthem by Mark Hayes conveying the excitement of experiencing new life in each new day.
You are the salt of the earth...the light of the world...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. excerpt from Matthew 5.13-16
From the organ, two works from Ned Rorem's A Quaker Reader will be offered.
"There Is a Spirit That Delights to Do No Evil...: are the dying words of English Quaker James Naylor, who spoke them to his caretakers after being fatally assaulted in London in 1660. The work exhibits a simple and serene character of a humble man hopeful for the ultimate demise of evil. "...No darkness at all..." is an excerpt of Elias Hicks' quote "God is light,and in Him is no darkness at all...", as recalled by poet Walt Whitman. A joyous and contemporary "Fanfare" concludes the services.
The Chancel Choir offers a Dan Forrest setting of the well-known hymn "Be Now My Vision" at the 11:00 a.m. service.
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.