At 9:00, we celebrate the light of Christ this Transfiguration Sunday with the music of U2 and a song of hope by guest guitarist Alan Skowron. Come join us as we together walk into the Light on an early Sunday morning.
At 11:00, the Plymouth Ringers invoke the Spirit with a Baroque-inspired setting of the J.S. Bach hymn "How Good, Lord, to Be Here" by Lauran Delancy. The Chancel Choir offers the rousing Gospel anthem "Standing in the Need of Prayer" by the inimitable Moses Hogan. The organ closes worship and the Epiphany season with the ecstatic "Litanies" by French organ composer Jehan Alain. The work mirrors one's desperate vocal pleas to God via a frenetic chant-like motive. As the composer related: "When, in its distress, the Christian soul can find no more words to invoke God's mercy, it repeats endlessly the same litany....for reason has reached its limit - only faith can take one further... "
As we gather —in-person!—this Transfiguration Sunday, we meditate on the transformative power of the Light of Christ and the call to share our own little light with the world.
At the 9:00 service, we welcome the sun in the return of our eclectic early morning worship hour. Bassist Peter Strening and cantor Lucas Jackson join us.
At the 11:00 service, the organ greets you with an affirmation in J.S. Bach's chorale prelude setting of "Dearest Jesus, We Are Here." Indeed, we are! The service closes triumphantly in a joyous moment of brevity with "Fanfare on 'Gopsal'" by David Willcocks. The Handel-composed hymn tune is commonly associated with the text "Rejoice, the Lord is King", a statement of Christ's reign. The Chancel Choir also returns with an offering for this Last Sunday of the Epiphany.
A well-lit path to new beginnings: the message of this fleeting Epiphany season. Marching into the Light of God.
Two venerable chorales of Light reinterpreted by 20th century composers for this Transfiguration Sunday:
17th century German hymn "O Jesu Christe, wahres Licht" (O Jesus Christ, True Light) is set in a Neo-Baroque style for manuals by Helmut Walcha. The cantus firmus plays distinctly in the right hand with contemporary flourishes dancing in the left hand throughout. The original text was essentially a prayer for those who are lost—a poem for enlightenment.
The 15th century tune "Deo Gracias" (Thanks to God) is commonly associated with the Transfiguration Sunday text "O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair!" Also known as the "Agincourt Hymn," the original folk song recounted the English army victory over the French in the 1415 Battle of Agincourt.
Lastly, the idiosyncratic flair of composer Daniel Pinkham's "Festive March" sends you out into the world with a spring in your step.
Selections from the chorale partita "Jesu, meine freude" (Jesus, my joy) by Baroque composer Johann Walther will be heard at next week's 7:00 p.m. Ash Wednesday Zoom service. Please join us as we walk together into this season of Lent.
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.
On this Transfiguration Sunday morning, we'll hear festive music as we cross from the season of Epiphany into the more introspective time of Lent.
"Fantaisie" by French-Canadian composer Denis Bédard opens the services with a seven minute opus referencing the French organ school of composers such as César Franck and Louis Vierne. A setting of Deo Gracias, the tune to the great Transfiguration hymn "O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair", by British-Canadian composer Healey Willan closes the services. The Plymouth Ringers offer the jubilant Festival Celebration by Kevin McChesney at the 11:00 a.m. service.
Also at 11:00 a.m., acclaimed British composer Will Todd's "Lighting the Way" will be sung by the Chancel Choir. Originally composed for a festival at Durham Cathedral, England in 1999, the text, also written by Todd, speaks to the Light of Christ all around us, illuminating the path ahead so that we can bring this Light more directly to others.
At our inaugural Dinner Church service this Sunday at 6:00 p.m., Bobby and Blair will lead us in song as we share the agape meal together. Hope to see you there!