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.
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.