William Bolcom and William Albright were colleagues in the composition department at the esteemed School of Music, Theatre, and Dance of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Their collaborations together produced the ragtime revival of the late 1960's as well as numerous organ works inspired by each composer's artistry. This Sunday morning, we experience a few examples of their eclectic catalogue.
The Gospel Preludes by William Bolcom are a four volume collection of hymns and spirituals set in a gospel, blues, jazz, and even avant-garde manner. They are as spiritually compelling as they are artistic, even strange. For the prelude, the 19th century hymn "Jesus Calls Us; O'er the Tumult" is similar in form to a Baroque chorale prelude (cantus firmus on one manual, accompaniment on another with pedal) but harmonically evokes jazz, blues, and gospel. A gentle setting that beckons the ear to listen deeply to Bolcom's complex chromatic writing.
The title "Carillon-Bombarde" by William Albright refers to the bell peal figure heard throughout the piece in both manual and pedal and the use of the large French reed stop: the Bombarde. Commissioned in 1985 for the re-dedication of the historic Chapman tracker organ at St. Margaret's Church, Straatsburg-on-Hudson, New York, the work is thrilling, almost typical, yet inescapably imbued with Albright's characteristic quirkiness.
The Musical Offering this Sunday is a solace for prayer and reflection in George Frideric Handel's "Andante" from Sonata No. 1 with violinist Harmony Tucker.
This Sunday at 6:00, join us for an eclectic evening worship experience with the musical sounds of gospel, jazz, blues, the Celtic folk tradition, and an ethereal instrumental from the early days of the band Genesis. Guitarist Alan Skowron returns to this newly reinstated evening 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.