A line from Nirvana's 1992 hit "Come As You Are" could have been uttered by the Pharisees in the Gospel reading this Sunday: "Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be...." Hypocrisy incarnate as these self-appointed arbiters of souls decide who will receive salvation in God — a demand of conformity to a false sense of righteousness. Jesus begged to differ...
An intense and gradual crescendo of earnest devotion and, well, the addition of organ stops runs through the prelude, a setting of the hymn "Just As I Am" by Paul Rutz. As if pleading to the Christ ("Lamb of God, I come, I come!"), the dramatic and moody work effectively portrays the hymn text's message of humble service to the Light despite one's perceived faults and unworthy attributes.
Aaron Copland composed twelve settings of poems by Emily Dickinson published as a song cycle in 1950. This Sunday we hear the third song, "Why Do They Shut Me Out of Heaven?" The text first questions the petty reasons for not being admitted into paradise. This quickly turns into frustration and anger as heaven itself seems to simply ignore the noisy objector. One can see how some would face this injustice, even daily, in this world.
The service ends with a blast from the 19th century in "Allegro maestoso," the penultimate movement from Organ Sonata No. 2 in C Minor by Felix Mendelssohn. An energetic and jubilant piece from the sonatas that were considered the finest organ works since J.S. Bach in this era. Mendelssohn like Schumann and Brahms were students of Bach and the Baroque era which sensibilities informed their compositions significantly. For Mendelssohn, his virtuosic pedal work owed much to Bach as displayed in this Sunday's postlude.
Next Sunday at 6:00 p.m., folk music from the Celtic and American traditions will be offered with guitarist Bill DeMarco joining.
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.