Monday, September 24, 2012

Pentecost 18 - Sunday 30 September 2012

  • Organ Prelude: Air and Gavotte – Samuel Wesley 
  • Opening Hymn 380 “O worship the King” 
  • Service Music: David Hurd Psalm 124 (Tone II.1) 
  • Anthem: Jesu, joy of man’s desiring – J.S. Bach 
  • Offertory Hymn 384 “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” 
  • Communion Hymn 610 “Before I take the Body of my Lord” 
  • Communion Motet: If ye love me – Thomas Tallis 
  • Final Hymn 325 “Angel voices, ever singing” 
  • Organ Postlude: Toccata in D minor – J.S. Bach 
Music Notes

Samuel Wesley (1766-1837) was something of a black sheep in the Wesley family. He was the son of Charles Wesley, the famous Methodist hymn writer and the nephew of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church. In 1784 he converted to Roman Catholicism (surely not a popular choice amongst his family!); and even worse, perhaps, he fathered several children out of wedlock (he did marry the first mother of his child, but later left her and became involved with another woman with whom he had 4 children).

In spite of all this many of his best compositions were written for the church. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) composed well over 200 cantatas which were sung as part of services throughout the Lutheran church year. “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring” is a movement from the 147th cantata, composed for the Visitation of Mary. The most instantly recognizable piece of organ music is Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor”, popularized by Leopold Stokowski’s arrangement for orchestra which was an international best seller when he recorded it in 1927, and in 1940 when he used it in the score to the Disney film “Fantasia” (and not forgetting its use in Phantom of the Opera!). Thomas Tallis composed “If ye love me, keep my commandments” to a text from John 14: 15-17. Tallis (c1505 to 1585) is one of England’s greatest early composers who became organist of Canterbury Cathedral and later the Chapel Royal. He performed and wrote music for four monarchs – King Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pentecost 17 - Sunday 23 September 2012

  • Organ Prelude: Adagio (from Sonata 3) – Alexandré Guilmant 
  • Opening Hymn 577 “God of grace and God of glory” 
  • Psalm 1 
  • Solo: O Praise the Lord – Maurice Greene (Fiona Strachan, soprano) 
  • Offertory Hymn 184 “My song is love unknown” 
  • Final Hymn 500 “Sister, let me be your servant” 
  • Organ Postlude: Sketch in D flat – Robert Schumann (1810-1856)


Alexandré Guilmant (1837-1911) was a French organist who was famous internationally as a concert artist in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He played no fewer than 40 recitals during the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 on the instrument that is now located in the Wanamaker store in Philadelphia, and for 30 years was organist of the Paris church known as La Trinité. Guilmant composed mainly organ music, including 8 sonatas which are still performed regularly.

Maurice Greene (1696-1755), an 18th century English musician, was organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Chapel Royal in London and later professor at Cambridge University. He composed a great deal of both sacred and secular music, but his best known work is the wonderful anthem “Lord, let me know mine end” which the St. Barnabas’ Choir has sung often.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) is not remembered for organ music, but mainly for his songs (lieder) and orchestral/other instrumental works. In fact, the four Sketches were composed in 1845 for pedal-piano, an instrument (a piano with foot pedals like the organ) that has a curious sound to modern ears, though it resembles the organ with its sustaining sonorities. The Sketches are most often played now on the organ.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pentecost 16 - Sunday 16 September 2012

  • Organ Prelude:  Prelude (or Entrée, from Petite Suite Scholastique) – Déodat de Sévérac
  • Opening Hymn 7 “New every morning is the love”
  • Service Music:  John Merbecke
  • Psalm 19
  • Gospel Alleluia
    Choir:  Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia
    All:  Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia
    Cantor:  The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.
    All:  Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia
  • Offertory Hymn 2 “When morning gilds the skies”
  • Communion Hymn 479 “O Christ the Master Carpenter”
  • Communion Motet:  “When I survey the wondrous cross” – Malcolm Archer
  • Final Hymn 344 “From all that dwell below the skies”
  • Organ Postlude:  Rigadoun – André Campra
Music Notes:

Déodat de Sévérac (1872-1921) was a French composer who is best known for his choral
music, but he also wrote music for piano, operas and a small number of organ pieces.  The  “Petite Suite Scholastique” is a set of five pieces designed for use during a mass.
Andre Campra is another Frenchman, but from an earlier period (1660-1744).  As Music
Director of Notre Dame for six years, Campra caused a bit of a stir by introducing string players  to play during mass -  at that time violins were viewed as ‘street instruments’ and therefore not  appropriate in a sacred context.  His opera/ballets were very popular during his lifetime,  although seldom heard today.  ‘Rigadoun’ is from the opera ‘Idoménée’, written in 1711/1712.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pentecost XV – September 9, 2012

  • Organ Prelude:  Prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’ – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Opening Hymn 484 “In Christ there is no east or west” (St. Bernard #607)
Psalm 125

  • Offertory Hymn 524 “O Christ the great foundation” (Aurelia)
Communion Hymn 450 “You call us Lord to be” (Rhosymedre)

  • Final Hymn 576 “For the healing of the nations” (Westminster Abbey)
Organ Postlude:  Prelude in F minor – J.S. Bach

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pentecost XIV - September 2, 2012

Peter Dunphy, guest organist
  • Organ Prelude: 15 Pieces Founded on Antiphons: Antiphon III – Marcel Dupré, 1886 - 1971

  • Opening Hymn 439 “Blest are the pure in heart” (Franconia)

  • Offertory Hymn 619 “Fairest Lord Jesus” (Crusaders’ Hymn)

  • Final Hymn 392 “Immortal, invisible, God only wise” (St. Denio)

  • Organ Postlude:  Le Tombeau de Titelouze: VIII. Veni Creator Spiritus – Marcel Dupré, 1886 - 1971