The First Sunday after Pentecost can also be acknowledged as Trinity Sunday. And it is to this traditional feast day on the Roman calendar that Sunday morning’s Baroque era organ selections will honor. A setting of the trinitarian hymn “Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her” (To God Alone on High be Glory) by early Baroque Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck begins the service. Sweelinck refined Renaissance era composition practices and helped usher in the North German organ school of composers which included Georg Böhm, J.S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Samuel Scheidt, the latter two also being heard this Sunday morning. “Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott” (We all believe in one true God) serves as the Offertory this week. There are numerous settings in the organ literature of this Martin Luther hymn, whose text is based on the words of the Nicean Creed. Samuel Scheidt, also a student of Sweelinck, provides the setting this week. Buxtehude’s galloping Fugue in C Major concludes the service. Subtitled the ‘gigue fugue’, the work is in a compound three meter imitating the imported British jig dance. Bach employed many numerological references to the Trinity in his organ works (abundant in the triple fugue of his “St. Anne” E flat major masterpiece). Buxtehude did not presumably intend this ‘gigue’ to be a trinitarian reference, but it will do.
Come back later to Plymouth for a jazz-inflected service at 6:00. Vocalist Adrienne Harlow and trombonist Rob Borger and friends will join Bobby for a musically adventurous evening.
On this Pentecost Sunday, the ancient Latin hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” (Come Creator Spirit) forms the basis for several musical offerings. This Invocation to the Holy Spirit is believed to have been composed by 9th century theologian and scholar Rabanus Maurus and is sung in Gregorian Chant. The morning services begin with Prelude and Passacaglia: “In Festo Pentecostes” (1981) by James Woodman. The Prelude is based on the chant melody which appears again in the fifteen-variation Passacaglia section over the recurring “ground bass,” played in the pedal. The service concludes with J.S. Bach’s setting of the Luther hymn, “Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist” (Come, God Creator, Holy Ghost). From the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, BWV 667 was composed in the last year of Bach’s life in 1750. Veni Creator serves as the cantus firmus, played in the pedal, while the manuals dictate an intricate ritornello figure above. Lastly, my celestial setting of the tune for handbells and choir will be heard as the introit at 11:00.
In the spirit of Pentecost, all of our current musical ensembles will be present together for both morning services. The Chancel Choir will offer Anton Bruckner’s “Locus iste,” an anthem written for the dedication of the votive chapel of Linz Cathedral, Austria in 1869. The text is the Latin Gradual for the anniversary of the dedication of a church, itself based on the biblical stories of Jacob’s Ladder and the burning bush. At 9:00, the Youth Bells will return for their last appearance this season. The Plymouth Ringers will present an arrangement by Bill Ingram of the spiritual “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” at 11:00.
And come experience the Fire of Pentecost at 6:00 in world music renditions of hymns of the spirit. Vocalist Blair Carpenter and Stuart Yoshida on ukulele and more will accompany Bobby in sounds of the spirit from around the world.
“Simple Song”, from Leonard Bernstein’s MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers
will be sung by our soprano choral section leader Emily Morris at both the 9:00 and 11:00 services. Flutist and Chancel Choir member Aaron McGrew will provide the obligato. MASS was commissioned by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and received its premiere in 1971 at the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. The Chancel Choir offers British composer Will Todd’s “Lighting the Way.” Subtitled "A Song for Pilgrims," the work was composed for the 1999 Lighting the Way Festival at Durham Cathedral in England.
A selection from Ned Rorem’s Organ Book III (1989), “Impromptu,” begins the morning services. Rorem won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his orchestral composition, “Air,” and is also a published author, notably his essays on music and personal diaries. Canadian organist Healey Willan’s setting of the English folk melody Deo Gracias (translated "Thanks to God") closes the services. The tune is commonly known as the Agincourt Carol, the melody originating in the early fifteenth century in commemoration of the 1415 Battle of Agincourt.
Bobby welcomes two new additions to the 6:00 service musicians roster this week. Guitarist Alan Skowron is an active performer and instructor in the area specializing in jazz and classical. Vocalist Hannah Walters is also the music director and organist of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church here in Fort Collins. Bassist Guy Keith, percussionist Matt Brown, and yours truly will also be present and together provide a musically contemplative worship experience.
Director of Music
This Sunday morning’s choral and organ music will all hail from Britain. Two organ selections from Six Pieces by Frank Bridge, Allegro comodo and Allegro ben moderato, will be offered. The composer’s organ works are among his oft-performed repertoire. Bridge was also a mentor to his colleague and friend Benjamin Britten. Philip Wilby’s setting of “If ye love me,” a lovely alternative to the Thomas Tallis standard, will be sung by the Chancel Choir at 11:00, accompanied by organist Jean Merkel.
Come to the 6:00 service where Bobby and vocalist Adrienne Harlow will bring a gospel-tinged flavor to the congregational songs and musical selections.
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.