It was common practice in the Baroque era that organists could improvise a clearly defined polyphonic imitative composition — a fugue— on a given or chosen theme. The base motive is introduced with additional voices methodically entering the texture one at a time based on the initial fugue subject or as supporting musical material. The end result can be quite intricate as shown in the virtuosic fugue works of J.S. Bach, the pinnacle of this compositional technique.
For this Sunday morning (the last pre-recorded service we hopefully will ever need to do!), we explore the little cousin of the fugue, the fughetta. Although less ambitious in form and scope, the imitative characteristics of the fugue remain intact but in a concentrated work. A generation before Bach, Johann Pachelbel produced a number of fughettas of which we'll hear the Fugue in C Major—a spirited delightful piece that showcases his keen understanding of counterpoint. A contemporary setting by Richard Proulx on the hymn tune "Engelberg" (commonly associated with the text "When in Our Music God Is Glorified") closes morning worship with a Neo-Baroque spirit.
The works of Henry Thacker ("Harry") Burleigh were known for integrating art music with traditional African-American spirituals. Soprano Blair Carpenter offers one such work in "'Tis Me, O Lord" during the Musical Offering. Burleigh was instrumental in introducing black music to the classical world and of note to composer Antonín Dvořák, who incorporated those sounds into his own music.
At 6:00 p.m., songs of praise and thanksgiving with cantor Blair Carpenter and ukulelist Stuart Yoshida.
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.