Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) will be the focus of the instrumental music this Sunday morning. His compositional style has been described as "the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them." The first two movements from Dvořák's Violin Sonatina, Opus 100 will be offered by violinist Harmony Tucker. The work was primarily composed in New York City in 1893, the last chamber work composed during his trip abroad. The Sonatina was catered to the ears of youth. He wrote, "It is intended for youths (dedicated to my two children), but even grown-ups, adults, should be able to converse with it..." Movement one, Allegro risoluto, exhibits a clear classical form with additional inspiration derived from Indian music and African-American spirituals, a characteristic of his chamber works. The second movement, Larghetto, was composed quickly from notes written on his shirt sleeve while in Minneapolis. This slow movement hearkens back to a longing for Dvořák's homeland. The composer was also an organist and did write a few works for the instrument. The Fughetta in D Major will conclude our morning services.
At 11:00, the Chancel Choir will offer an excerpt from Handel's timeless oratorio Messiah in But Thanks Be to God.
At 6:00, Bobby and cantor Blair Carpenter, bassist Peter Strening, flutist Doti Strening, and guitarist Alan Skowron will lead you in song and worship.
The imaginative and often quirky organ works of Daniel Pinkham will be represented this Sunday morning. He studied composition with such notables as Arthur Honegger, Samuel Barber and Nadia Boulanger. From the late 1950's until his death in 2006, Pinkham taught at the New England Conservatory of Music and was organist for King's Chapel in Boston His music tends to be formal in design but with a distinct harmonic language that can be dissonant yet remain tethered to tonality. A partIta on the hymn tune SLANE opens the services. SLANE was originally an old Irish folk tune and was set to the text "Be Thou My Vision" in 1927, as found in our hymnals. The Partita on SLANE is a set of six short variations on the tune with the melody displaced in the texture and also used as the basis for a gigue and aria. The work is from Pinkham's collection Music for a Quiet Sunday, commissioned in 1998 and debuted by concert organist James David Christie on the modest Stoneham organ. The final piece of the collection, Festive March, modeled after a French sortie, will close our services. At 11:00 a.m. the Chancel Choir offers Mark Hayes' In the Morning, Joy, an anthem expressing the hope and optimism of a new day.
At the 6:00 p.m. service, Bobby will be joined by cantor Blair Carpenter, bassist Peter Strening, and resident ukulele guru Stuart Yoshida to lead you in worship and song.
Organ works by 20th century French composer Jean Langlais will be presented this Sunday autumn morning. Blind from the age of two, Langlais still managed to acquire great acclaim as an organ and choral composer, improviser, and concert artist. He was appointed to the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde, Paris in 1945, a post he kept for over forty years whose predecessors included César Franck and Charles Tournemire. In the same year, his collection of Nine Pieces was published, including several miniatures, "songs," depicting specific affects such as sorrow and quiet joy. This Sunday, we will hear the plaintive and otherworldly Song of Peace and the mystical yet triumphant Song of Joy. For the 9:00 a.m. communion time, a selection from Langlais' 24 Pieces (1934-36), Prélude modal. The music of Jean Langlais is characterized by his love of Gregorian Chant and complex striking harmonies with shifting modalities, as will be heard in the previous selection. The Chancel Choir will offer another "song" as well, A Song of Community by John Ferguson. Conducted by Amy Welsh, the work is a five-verse hymn anthem (tune of Wareham), accompanied by organ and The Plymouth Ringers, which will culminate with the choir and you, the congregation, singing the final verse together. Additionally, the Youth Bells will offer Arnold Sherman's Jubilee! led by Director Kathee Houser.
At 6:00 p.m., Bobby is joined by the now familiar talents of Blair Carpenter (cantor), Alan Skowron (guitar), and Peter Strening (bass) for another excursion into this early evening alternative worship experience.
On this World Communion Sunday, we will hear and sing hymns, songs, anthems, and music of the Bread and Cup from all across the earth, from places like Scotland, Jamaica, Germany, and our own North America.
J.S. Bach composed the chorale prelude "Schmücke dich, o meine Seele" (Adorn yourself, O dear soul) in the last ten years of his life in Leipzig. Based on the 1649 melody by prolific Lutheran hymn writer Johann Cruger, this eucharistic hymn setting employs just four voices: a pedal line, a ritornello in the middle voices, and the soprano melody played on a light reed stop, "adorned" in a French ornamentation style. Peace and serenity exudes throughout this ode to the sacrament of communion. "Panis Angelicus" (Bread of Angels) is the penultimate portion of the 13th century hymn "Sacris Solemnis," authored by Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Many musical settings have been composed on this text, most famously by César Franck in 1872. Soprano Blair Carpenter will offer this setting during the 9:00 a.m. service communion. During the 11:00 a.m. communion, the Chancel Choir will sing the last movement of Bob Chilcott's "A Little Jazz Mass" set to the ancient eucharistic text, "Agnus Dei (Latin for Lamb of God). Fanfare" by 19th century Belgian-French composer Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens will close the morning services on a joyful note.
Bobby Brannock and cantor Laura Nelson will offer meditative music for our first Sunday of the month contemplative service tradition at 6:00 p.m.
As we welcome new members into Plymouth this Sunday, a potpourri of musical offerings to exemplify the diversity of the congregation seems apropos for morning worship.
From the Baroque era, "Chaconne in E Minor" by German composer Dietrich Buxtehude begins the services. The chaconne was originally a late-16th century dance song from Spanish culture (chacona). It evolved into a triple meter instrumental form consisting of variations over a repetitive chord structure and sometimes ground bass, as will be heard in Buxtehude's work. The Plymouth Ringers return this program year with an arrangement of "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by Susan Geschke at both morning services. John Rutter's setting of the 1558 Sarum Primer prayer "God Be In My Head" will be offered by the Chancel Choir at the later service. To conclude, we'll hear Rutter's "Toccata in Seven," so named for the asymmetrical 7/4 time signature present throughout the piece.
Guitarist Alan Skowron and cantor Blair Carpenter return this week and join Bobby and bassist Peter Strening for a jazz- inflected service at 6:00 p.m.
To reflect Rev. Jake's foray into the concept of personal salvation this week, a notion not unfamiliar to those of us with an evangelical upbringing, the following musical offerings this Sunday morning. Soliloquy by David Conte is a beautifully introspective work beginning with a distinctive solo flute voice, growing to a chorus of contemporary harmonies, and returns to the singular flute melody. Two selections from William Bolcom's brilliant Gospel Preludes will also be heard: Jesus Calls Us; O'er the Tumult during the early service communion and Blessed Assurance to send us out into the world. In addition to these staples of the evangelical songbook, the spiritual This Little Light of Mine, arranged by Mark Hayes, will be sung by the Chancel Choir.
At 6:00 p.m., cantor Blair Carpenter, guitarist Alan Skowron, and bassist Peter Strening will join Bobby in letting go the 'shackles of the world' for an hour of inspired and devotional music and congregational song
Writing organ works based on chorales is a time-honored tradition among composers for the organ, serving practical purposes for service use as well as creative variations on a theme for the concert hall. Sigfrid Karg-Elert produced his 66 Chorale Improvisations, Op. 65, dedicated to French organist Alexandre Guilmant, between 1906-1908 in six volumes encompassing chorales from the entire liturgical year. An Wasserflüssen Babylon (By the rivers of Babylon), a meditation on Psalm 137, begins the morning services. And from his compilation 20 Preludes and Postludes (1912), a postludium on the chorale Sollt ich meinem Gott nicht singen (I will sing my maker's praises) completes the services. Gabriel Fauré's setting of Pie Jesu, from the famous Requiem in D Minor, will be sung at the early service by soprano Blair Carpenter, who also serves often as cantor for the 6:00 p.m. service and sings with the Chancel Choir regularly as part of the Choral Section Leader Program. At 11:00 a.m., the Chancel Choir will present Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock by composer Abbie Betinis, a work conceived on September 12, 2001 as a response to the national tragedy a day prior and a prayer to the victims and survivors.
At the 6:00 p.m. service, the music will take on a distinctive Hawaiian flair with steel guitarist Chris Kennison and Plymouth's resident ukulele guru Stuart Yoshida.
It is to organ works composed with the English Cathedral in mind we go this Sunday morning. Composer George Oldroyd served as organist at St. Alaban's Church, Holborn and St. Michael's Church, Croydon, both Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Church of England. His first of the triptych Three Liturgical Improvisations, a musical expression of Psalm 84, verse 2 ("My soul hath a desiring and longing to enter the courts of the Lord") will be heard at the Prelude. During communion at 9:00 a.m., Anglo-Canadian organist and composer Healey Willan's setting of Orlando Gibbon's late-Tudor era tune Song 1 will be offered. The tune can be found in The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal) with the communion text "Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray." For the Postlude, Healey Willan's majestic voluntary Postlude in D will conjure images of a grand cathedral procession out into the world at service's end.
During the 11:00 a.m. communion, the Chancel Choir will offer Jesus Took the Cup, a Hal Hopson arrangement of the Scottish tune The Lichtbob's Lassie with a text paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 11.24-26, also by Hopson. The anthem will be conducted by choir member Amy Welsh and the solo sung by our new soprano choral section leader Blair Carpenter. Blair cantors regularly at the 6:00 p.m. services and has sung many times with the Chancel Choir this past year. We are fortunate that she has agreed to be the newest addition to the Choral Section Leader Program, welcome!
As has become custom the first Sunday of each month, the 6:00 p.m. service will offer a contemplative tone for prayer, reflection, and a meditative ending to the day. Harpist Alaina Borgers, cantor Blair Carpenter and pianist Bobby Brannock will offer music to assist you along the way.
The morning services will ring in Jubilee Sunday with two organ works based on the bell tones of the carillon. Leo Sowerby's composition Carillon (1917) utilizes the chimes and celesta on the organ while also employing rhythmic figures reminiscent of clanging bells. Sowerby, often called the "Dean of American church music" in the early to mid-20th century, was a prominent organist and a Pulitzer Prize winning composer for his cantata Canticle of the Sun (1946). In contrast is the postlude by William Albright, Carillon-Bombarde (1985). A contemporary and at times dissonant interpretation of a ringing carillon, bombarde refers to the big reed stops that enter near the work's grand ending.
The Chancel Choir resumes its musical offerings at both the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services this week with the traditional Irish tune SLANE, Be Thou My Vision, arranged by Dan Forrest.
Jubilee Sunday continues at the 6:00 p.m. service with the sounds of dixieland! Bobby's guests will include a brass ensemble of trombone, trumpet, and tuba (yes, must have more tuba!) plus banjo player Josh Beard and cantor Blair Carpenter. This promises to be a spirited slice of Americana...come on back!
The Summer Choir returns for their last appearance this season offering Hal Hopson's arrangement of the infamous Pachelbel's Canon at the 10 a.m. service. Entitled "Canon of Praise," the text is adapted by Hopson from Psalm 103. Hal Hopson has been a fixture of sacred choral music for decades. He excels at arranging and composing accessible choral anthems of fine quality and it was a privilege to have met him at the church music workshop Hal and I attended this summer in Texas.
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) was a German composer, teacher, and organist who achieved great popularity in his lifetime. His composition style utilized simple and transparent counterpoint with an emphasis on harmonic and melodic clarity. His chorale prelude on the early Lutheran hymn by Johann Agricola, “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) begins the service.
Pachelbel had two sons who also followed in his musical footsteps. Charles Theodore Pachelbel (1690-1750) became one of the first European composers to reside in the New Colonies, settling in Charleston, South Carolina. Very little of his works survive, just including a few vocal and choral pieces. The oldest son, Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel (1686-1764), has six surviving works, all of them written for the keyboard. Half of the remaining music was influenced by the emerging Classical style of the time. This Sunday, we'll hear his "Toccata in G Major," reminiscent of his father's Baroque contrapuntal leanings, at the postlude.
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.