We welcome the Advent season with variations on "Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele" (Rejoice greatly, O my soul) by Baroque composer Georg Bõhm. This tune from the 1551 Genevan Psalter is most associated with the Advent text by 18th century hymn writer Johannes Olearius, "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People."
A gentle reprieve is offered at service midpoint by violinist Harmony Tucker in the "Adagio" from G.F. Handel's "Violin Sonata in F Major, HWV 370."
For Vespers this December 2, a service of Advent hymn and carols in the folk tradition with guitarist Bill Demarco.
At all three services this weekend, we experience a taste of the Anglican Advent Carol Service through lessons of prophecy and carols from this season of Advent.
From the organ this Sunday morning, Brahms' adored setting of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" brings us to a time of centering silence. An inventive setting in irregular meters of "Savior of the Nations, Come" by Kevin Hildebrand accompanies the early service communion. From the Advent portion of Bach's Orgelbüchlein, "Lord Christ, the Only Son of God" brings the services to a majestic close.
At the 11:00 a.m. Choral Service, two traditional responses for an Anglican Advent Carol Service will be sung by a quartet: Palestrina's Matin and Vesper Responsories. The Chancel Choir will offer Libby Larsen's "Lord, Before This Fleeting Season," a setting of a poem by Mary Ann Jindra widely circulated this time of the year. Be inspired and enlightened by these words in this busy season:
Lord, before this fleeting season is upon us, Let me remember to walk slowly.
Lord, bless my heart with love and with quiet.
Give my heart a leaning to hear carols.
Grace our family with contentment,
And the peace that comes only from You.
Lord, help us to do less this busy season;
Go less; stay closer to home; kneel more.
May our hearts be Your heart
May we simply, peacefully, celebrate You.
The beginning of a new liturgical year, and so the time of Advent, is upon us this Sunday.
We greet the season in part with two organ selections based on traditional Advent carols. "Once He Came in Blessing" is a 16th century German carol written by a contemporary of Martin Luther, Michael Weiss. The setting by J.S. Bach from his Orgelbüchlein collection will be offered during the prelude. The cantus firmus (or tune) is clearly expressed on a reed stop in the pedal with the manuals gently playing the tune in canon using a three part chorale texture. The tune Morning Song, commonly paired with the Advent text "The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns", closes the services with a boisterous setting by Richard Proulx.
At the 9:00 service, violinist Harmony Tucker plays "Abendlied," from Josef Rheinberger's 6 Pieces, Opus 150, a collection of duets for organ and violin. Abendlied translates as "evening song," a precursor to our darkening days as winter quickly approaches.
The Chancel Choir offers an "Advent Message" by British composer Martin How. Conducted by Amy Welsh, the work provides a synopsis of this fleeting season as we prepare our hearts for the renewed birth of Light and Christ in our hearts.
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.