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[in a process (theology) world] we talk about two kinds of creativity. There is that internal creativity, which takes that which is given, and turns it into the decisive reality of what we are in a particular moment, and there is a transitional creativity, which takes that which we are, and offers it, then, to the whole universe….all of existence is the rhythm of both of them.”

   
--Marjorie Suchocki (“What is Process Theology?” DVD part 3: Feminism and Process Theology 6:24)
 
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Godmusic---> music for 2011-12 at Faith UMC in Champaign, Illinois

This page contains the music, bulletin notes, and additional commentary (online only) for the organ and piano music for traditional services at Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign, Illinois.  The music is chosen with respect to the other elements of the service.

Music for September 11
"Does Satan exist?"

Toccata and Fugue in d minor
J. S. Bach


Adagio for Strings
Barber (arr. Strickland)
It may not be possible to hear the arresting opening of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in d minor without thinking of haunted houses and other fearful things--in which case, Hollywood has done a very good job of repackaging. But Bach's piece probably served a far different function.  Bach spent most of his life in the service of the church, about 200 years after Luther, whose great hymn speaks about a world 'with devils filled.' In a more rationalist age, Bach was often invited to inspect organs for other churches, and it is possible that the opening toccata, with its short flourishes and frequent pauses between them (time to pull different stops?) may have been a good way to put a new organ through its paces.  One could imagine Bach, as was his custom, playing the opening passage, and declaring to those present while the room reverberated, "It's got a good set of lungs!" We cannot know for sure whether this more prosaic reason was at the heart of the piece's composition, or whether Bach was simply exercising his ability to craft a fine piece of music with no philosophical overtones (a view that went decidedly out of fashion in the following century when music was thought to express feelings or ideas). There are some contemporary voices who doubt whether Bach wrote this piece at all. It is also possible that the man who so often signed his manuscripts 'To the Glory of God' was thinking, not of things evil, but of the awesome, and perhaps fearful power of God. But associations die hard; nevertheless I invite you this morning to experience this piece in a new way.

What was I thinking? The thought more than crossed my mind as I considered the standard response to September 11th and the fact that we were going to discuss Satan and evil and that I was going to attempt to challenge a very popular way of looking at a piece of music that most people would think clearly does not belong at a church service in the first place (largely because of those manufactured associations, I would argue, but what can you do?)

And, in fact, our pastor, when I told him what I was playing, asked whether I might not want to play the "Adagio for Strings" instead. I imagine that organists across the country will be playing it on Sunday; as I mentioned last October when I played William Strickland's organ arrangement of the piece as we dealt with the Babylonian captivity--an epic national disaster for the people of Israel--this music has become a kind of national anthem of mourning--the go-to piece in times of great bereavement and loss for our country. It is the obvious thing to play. Barber himself probably would have been less than overjoyed; he did not want the piece played at his own funeral because "it is too banal a thing to do." In other words, a cliché. But sometimes people need clichés. I decided our pastor was right--I am including the piece again at our services this weekend before we have a moment of silence: I hope it is a healing moment for many.

The Bach, on the other hand, clearly is swimming upstream. Challenging popular associations about pieces of music is a tough thing to do. If I were in a more conservative church I would expect somebody to come up to me after word and accuse me of letting the devil loose on the sanctuary or something. An organist I know once had a man approach him about using too much bass in the service, which made him think of the devil. The organist explained that in fact he was using a lot of bass in the service that morning intentionally; it was, rather, a foundation, as in Christ is the firm foundation. The man responded "I still don't like it!"

But reclaiming the piece from all those ghosts and goblins is exactly my point in playing it. If I understand the pastor correctly, this week's sermon on the existence of the devil will go like this: short answer: the devil, no. Evil, yes. So what is evil exactly? long answer. Not a force, but a series of choice to harm rather than to affirm--something like that. I haven't seen a draft yet so I hope I'm not doing too much violence to his position.

At any rate, doing the expected thing is sometimes necessary and good--but taking risks and challenging the ordinary is, at the least, far more interesting. And, often, productive. Last week's service was also a reminder of that. I was on 'improvisation sabbatical' and the sermon was called 'the world: when did it begin and when will it end?' (short answer: it didn't and it won't) I decided to illustrate this with music that had no beginning or end. About a half an hour before the first service I wedged a hymnal (with a Bible on top for ballast) into the pedal board so that a quiet low D continued to sound throughout the sanctuary while I went off to rehearse with the band for the contemporary service. Thus before anyone entered, the music had begun. The postlude reversed the process; the sound continued until after everyone had left the building.

The reason I bring this up is that everybody, including the pastor, thought the organ was broken! As soon as they entered and heard that sound, they all said the same thing (who was it that said, "Given the freedom to think however they wish, most people think alike"?). It seems to have occurred to no one that it might be intentional. Once I explained it to the pastor, though, he loved the idea, and explained it to everyone else (except the late comers!) at the start of both traditional services. Thus the past two weeks have really been a study in basic assumptions. Unfortunately, religion is very much at the heart of untested assumptions, despite what Paul said about 'testing everything.' But it usually takes somebody willing to test them. Our pastor is going out on a theological limb this fall, so I'm out there with him!

By the way, the organ pedal yielded some fascinating results. For one thing, after the service I went out in the gathering area. With the door open, you could still hear the pedal reverberating throughout the building. You could even feel the note going right through you. There was one sweet spot right by the coat rack.

Between services I had planned to turn the organ off, but when I returned about 20 minutes after the 8 o'clock service to do so, I found that the ushers had left a few lights on, dimmed. The effect of the empty sanctuary with soft lighting and a quietly humming low note was amazing! I hope some folks wandered in to pray between services, although we aren't much given to quiet meditation as a congregation. I left the organ on and returned to the contemporary service across the hall.


Music for September 18
"Is God All-Powerful?"

Grand Choeur Dialogue
Gigout

O Haupt voll blut und wunden
Telemann



Composers in past centuries have frequently found it profitable to answer 'yes' to the question of an all-powerful God, for a very practical reason: their boss was often the king of something, and tied his own power in direct line to that of the heavenly king (Shakespeare has Richard II assert that treason against the king is treason against God). This musical propaganda is evident when, for example, Bach arranges the opening of his 'Christmas oratorio' to celebrate the birth of the King of Kings by reusing music written a few years earlier for the coronation of a very earthly king. By the time of Eugene Gigout's "Grand Choeur Dialogue," the French monarchy had ended, but in this grand conversation between alternating "choirs" with its stiff, regal rhythms and pompous displays of majestic loudness it is clear that Gigout is working within a style inherited from a time when a deliberate blurring of the power of God with the power of the king was fashionable (and safe). In direct contrast is Telemann's setting of "O Sacred Head Now Wounded." The affirmation of God's authority is not without a price: is God therefore remote or uncaring? In tension with this "Lordly" image is that of the suffering God, the 'fully human' incarnation, which Telemann invokes in this simple setting of the 'Passion Chorale.'

"pompous displays of majestic loudness."  Sorry, but I found that amusing late at night when I wrote it. You too, perhaps?

Music for September 25
"Where Does Sin Come From?

Durch Adams fall ist ganz verderbt
Telemann


Two of the candidates for Cantor of the St. Thomas school and town musical director in Leipzig in 1723 could not have been more unlike. The conservative musical theologian Bach and the progressive dramatist Telemann seem to have had a friendly relationship, although Telemann had been a thorn in the side of Bach's predecessor for several years while in Leipzig, enjoying an easy success with his operatic group and the public favor for his church cantatas. Unlike Bach's setting of this hymn, which I played last fall, a setting which emphasizes the stain of sin with its discomfiting slithering inner voices and continuous falling gestures in the pedal, Telemann's is straightforwardly tense and dramatic. Augustine's reading of Paul's Letter to the Romans ("Since sin entered the world by one man..." 5:12) provides much of the doctrinal impetus behind this hymn, as well as the concept of 'Original Sin' which has dominated church teaching for centuries. Thus also the title, which translates "Through Adam's Fall Everything has been Spoiled/Corrupted/Ruined!"

So here's the 64 ducat question: Is Telemann taking this hymn less seriously? Is he the popular composer, giving the people what they want--a Lutheran chorale with a nice beat they can dance to? Or is he getting at something else in this ancient tale of woe? I haven't found any evidence that Telemann worked very hard at his chorale settings--he was, in fact, one of the most prolific composers in history, so he probably didn't spend all that much time writing anything. And most of his other short 2-voice settings of chorales adhere to the same formula: The tune itself is one voice, and against that, he takes a short, usually buoyant, gesture that can be manipulated by sequence--repeating it starting on different pitches. Run through the tune once and you are done, usually in under 2 minutes. Just add water, and you pretty much could write your own Telemann chorale setting. Still, it's effective. And it gets at something dramatically that the Bach doesn't, which shows the richness of the Biblical sources. One approach, musical or otherwise, won't cover everything.

Music for October 2
"World Communion Sunday"

Theme and Variations
unknown Chinese composer
       


Today Christians around the world celebrate World Communion Sunday. It is easy for us to grasp that idea in the abstract without really pausing to reflect on the diversity of cultures and countries that make up such an vast undertaking. That is true for many events outside church as well--for example, I have often seen concerts advertised as "Around the World in Music" when, in fact, a look at the program shows that the music is all from Western Europe! Today's selection comes from the other "end" of the world. It is part of a collection of Chinese piano music I was given when playing concerts in Taiwan ten years ago. My host informed me that the names of the individual composers were suppressed, apparently because the mainland Chinese Communist government felt that individual achievement should not be recognized. A beautiful theme treated to 9 short variations, it is also an example of cultural fusion: the piano is a Western (Italian) invention, as is the form (a set of variations) and the use of musical expression and tempo marks (in Italian); all these show an Asian musician expressing his or her own cultural identity using native melodic motives and expressive devices with the help of a European instrument and notational system. It is music from a people who are also welcome around the communion table this morning and are celebrating with us: in fact, they've probably gotten a 12-hour head start!

I am often less than happy with the program notes as they turn out in the bulletin, but then, if I've waited until the last minute to write them, trusting to last second inspiration (:ahem: pastor Brad!) that sometimes happens. The problem here is that when you are writing about bridges between cultures and the like you could either end up sounding patronizing, or just throw together a bunch of platitudes. I don't knew whether I avoided either one here, but the music is really interesting, and beautiful, so why don't I just shut up and play! (you'll have to hit the play button, though)

Music for October 9
"Did the Miracles Actually Happen?"

Nocturne in Eb, Op. 36

Gabriel Faure       
                      


Miracles are rare in music--moments of genuine interruption to introduce ideas that have not been foreshadowed by previous moments or that presage others are usually considered lack of discipline on the part of the composer. In a work of genius even the most mundane musical moments can generally be traced to a piece's principal materials, as if in fulfillment of the piece's consistent and knowable laws.
This is not to suggest that moments of surprise don't occur in good compositions. Beethoven, in particular, specializes in instances of disruption in which our expectations are upset; but in retrospect, those places generally turn out to be an important part of the overall architecture of the composition, not a violation of the piece's structural logic.  In Gabriel Faure's Nocturne in Eb the 'miracle' may well be in the ear of the beholder. Beginning with a simple, contented song, the nocturne takes a melancholy turn into the darkness of Eb minor, complete with tolling bells, but then introduces a melody which evokes hope and joy. It is after the ecstatic climax that the music relaxes into the serenity of the opening tune, that the 'miracle' occurs. A return to the beginning, the musical 'topic sentence,' is about as standard, and may be as architecturally necessary, as food and water. And yet, it seems to me that dramatically Faure makes this return as beautiful and deeply fulfilling as it is possible for such a moment to be. In analytical terms, there is nothing special about it. But experiencing the piece as it unfolds in time and psychology is something else entirely: perhaps here is an example of a miracle of the ordinary!

So is it a miracle if it was supposed to happen? So much about miracles seems to depend upon our attitude toward them, which may include whether we think we've witnessed one or not (even in the bible folks where often not sure whether something was a sign of God's power or simply a coincidence; see 1 Samuel 6:8-9 when the Philistines wonder whether their tumors have been caused by having the ark of the covenant or not, or Luke 4, when Jesus could not do many miracles in his hometown because of the people's unbelief). The return of the theme in Faure's nocturne seems to me to be of transcendent beauty, so I play it that way. On the other hand, it could just be another typical feature of a 19th century piano piece. Which attitude would you prefer? And how would it change the way you experience it?


Music for October 16

       In Festive Mood
          Scarmolin

       Threefold Doxology
          arr. Wilson

Marietta Bigler, piano
Michael Hammer, organ
Music for October 23

Karen Ranney, flute

    Sonata in Eb                        J. S. Bach
       Allegro Moderato
       Siciliano


Marietta has been a member of Faith church since practically the beginning (it is now just over 50 years old) and has been playing piano/organ duets with a number of organists in the church since then. It is a privilege to play with her, and a lot of fun! She has several collections of music, all of which are still under copyright, so my internet audience will not be able to hear us. Sorry, guys.

Karen is a middle school teacher and leads our teen band as well as singing/playing flute and cello in our Fusion band at the 9 am service. Besides having the necessary quirkiness that a middle school teacher must have, she doesn't mind diving in at the last minute and playing whatever she's asked to.
Music for October 30
"Does God have everything mapped out?"

4' 33"
John Cage


Psalm IX
(version 1, version 2, version 3)
Marteau

because this piece can be played an infinite number of ways, I am including three versions of it here!


 



      

John Cage's famous (or infamous) 4' 33" is perhaps the quintessential piece without a map--although Cage claimed that the piece's original (lost) version contained notes, all of which were 'silent,' the so-called "first tacet" version of the score simply instructs the performer or performers to allow some length of  time to elapse before the piece is over with the instruction 'tacet 'under the titles of each of three movements (a standard Italian musical mark telling the performer to 'be silent'). The point perhaps being that whatever happens during that time is the piece. It is therefore a surrender of any artistic control on the part of the composer, the performer, and possibly the audience to the moment, an experience of the mundane as special, simply because we treat it that way, or a moment of acceptance without the need to make something happen within a particular frame of time. As Cage wrote, "Why isn't that suddenly sneezing isn't considered profound?" The spiritual dimensions of this realization may be implied by an earlier, unrealized 'version' of the piece, whose title was to be "Silent Prayer." This might in fact be a useful guide if you find yourself "without something to do" for four and a half minutes!

"Psalm IX' consists of 9 discrete musical gestures to be played in no particular order. The pianist is allowed to linger on a particular 'verse,' repeating it several times before going on, or to return to a previously played 'verse' as seems good. This mirrors a meditative reading of the Psalms, specifically a practice known as 'lectio divina.' For today's rendering, however, members of the congregation drew numbers from a hat before the service to determine the order of the 'verses.' The pianist, however, reserves the right to repeat them at will or to recall previous gestures.


Another one of those weeks when the organist at Faith UMC goes off the deep end...(and how far he's fallen, too! One glance at the archives from last year shows that on this Sunday folks got to hear the mighty Bach Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor. And this year?  Silence.

Well, not really. Cage's piece has been talked about a lot since 1951. What is it about? What isn't it about? Is it just a gag? Is it art?

Interestingly enough, Cage originally thought he'd call the piece "Silent prayer" and sell it to the Muzak corporation. I doubt they'd have been interested. Given the lengths radio stations (and even web players) go to avoid even a second or two of silence between pieces (I have to add it on to every piece I post now so it doesn't just jump right into the next musical item without a suitable pause to even let the resonance die away much less to allow you to digest the musical meal you've just had before embarking on the next course) it is not likely that they would feel that a piece of music that didn't actually fill the 'void' with sounds of some kind (any kind! please! now!) would be a big sell. And I had to wonder how the piece would work with a bunch of Methodists on Sunday morning. By the way, I wonder if this was the North American (or even world) premiere of this piece during a church service!

We Midwestern Methodists don't do silence really well. Even our silent prayers usually involve background music, and last only about 15 seconds. The other week at our Saturday night service I suggested that we take the time to actually pray silently, and allowed 3 or 4 minutes to go by before I interrupted it with music. (We have Taize services at our church occasionally, but silence is still a rare thing here).

Anyhow, the piece wasn't about silence--not really. Cage said that people "missed the point" on that. He pointed out that there is noise all around us all the time, even when we're alone. Body noises--breathing sounds, blood rushing through veins, alpha brain waves, and so on. If the piece is about anything, it is about a changed way to listen. The performer doesn't get to control the content of the piece--only the borders. The music is whatever happens during that time. It might cause you to listen--really listen--to what is happen in the space, noises you would normally filter out as not being part of the piece, not important enough to notice.

By the way, the pastor suggested (from the pulpit!) that next week he might preach a sermon called 20'21". I told him I couldn't wait to hear it! I'd also mentioned to the secretary that I was not going to be able to miss any notes for the opening voluntary this week, which was a nice feeling going in. (There aren't many pieces you have no way to screw up!) We like to have a little fun around here, but I took the performance seriously. True, somebody snickered at the 8 o'clock service when I dusted the keyboard off with my handkerchief between movements and then closed the lid again (the piece actually contains three movements, and I played all of them!). Well, what's wrong with "suddenly snickering" in a church? It became part of the performance. Most of the rest was predictable: people sat in silence, mostly; you could hear the organ blower, the noises of the people out in the "gathering" (lobby area) fellowshipping, latecomers taking their seats (one lady said to my wife when she came in and saw me sitting with my head bowed: "Did somebody die?"), the rustling of bulletins, and the low murmurs of people 'explaining' the piece to each other, or talking about something unrelated. I don't get the sense that anything profound happened. But that was something I needed to struggle against: the idea that something 'special' or extraordinary could or should happen. What happened, happened. That was all that was needed.
As Jeremy Begbie wrote "Music enlarges us in the very waiting...."

Here is an interesting essay I shared in the church email the next week:

http://www.rosewhitemusic.com/cage/texts/WhatSilenceTaughtCage.html


---
the offertory was of course, also unscripted, although it could pass for a kind of new age/musacky piece by contrast; if you don't know how the piece is generated, it may not seem like anything of any notice. Maybe that's also the point. At the 10:30 service the pastor was already giving announcements by the time I had a chance to get the hat out, so I had people from the 9:00 service who were out in the Gathering (lobby) draw the numbers (the old butterfly in Brazil effect!) to determine (partly) what the people in the sanctuary were going to hear during the 10:30 offertory.


Music for November 6
"Is there an actual heaven or hell?"

Prelude to the Heroic Gate of Heaven

       Erik Satie
Music for November 13
music of Thanksgiving:

Nun Danket alle Gott (Now Thank we All our God)

        J. S. Bach        

Erik Satie was at least as unorthodox as anything our pastor is preaching this fall but I couldn't think of anything relevant to put in the bulletin so I just let the music speak for itself. The following week I got the flu so the recording I made of the Bach was pretty retched. (So was my rendition at the 10:30 church service) That's why the title is in red--I'll get around to it again some day and make a recording. It's a pretty tricky piece, actually, but very enjoyable to hear. If you are wondering about the timing, our church has a thanksgiving dinner the Sunday BEFORE the Sunday before Thanksgiving so I thought this would be a good time to celebrate Thanksgiving, since I'm doing something about angels (with respect to the sermon) the following week. This timing issue comes up every year, however, since the last Sunday before Advent in the church calendar is known as "Christ the King" Sunday, and it is often the same week as Thanksgiving, which is a civil holiday, and is often ignored by pastors, presumably for that reason. However, I'm with the choir director. I like the Thanksgiving/harvest hymns that we only get to sing once a year, I like the recognition that the harvest is in and now we are set to endure a cold winter but in the warmth of fellowship and with our stored provisions, and, frankly, it is the one national holiday which commemorates a feast to give thanks to God, which makes it the one national holiday that is really not about being glad about living in the U.S. (which is fine but doesn't make it a Christian holiday) but rather its object is to thank and praise God. The focus, then, is not on the patriotism of the pilgrims, but on the spirituality of the pilgrims--not on the state, but on God. It seems like a suitable collision between a church holiday and a state holiday--probably the only one. Several churches have special Thanksgiving services, including some I attended in my youth and young adulthood, so I have a warm spot for them. Faith doesn't have one, however, so every year the choir director and I try to figure out where to cram the Thanksgiving hymns! Next year there is an extra week between Thanksgiving and Advent so we won't have to worry about trying to simultaneously celebrate Christ the King and Thanksgiving.

Music for November 20   "Are There Really Angels?"
Scherzo, op. 2               Durufle

I wasn't able to post a recording of this for copyright reasons, but it's just as well, since I don't think I played it particularly well, but then, I only worked on it for about a week. One week is not long enough to learn the Durufle Scherzo, kiddies! Ah, well, I'll get it the second time around, whenever that is. I won't be able to post it then, either, however, due to copyright restrictions. But if you're curious, you can go listen to somebody's illegal upload on Youtube. There is at least one really fine performance in the bunch. I found this piece while looking for another grandish French organ piece after the Gigout Grand Choeur Dialogue from September. For some reason it seemed like a good musical response to the idea of angels, particularly when James MacMillan's piece "Angels" turned out to be a bit of a disappointment (only a page long, and consisting entirely of whole note 2-part 'counterpoint'  in the high register of the piano). Note to self, however: try not to schedule so many new and challenging pieces going into the Christmas season next year!

 

Music for November 27
Advent Theme: Waiting
       

Musica Ricerta:
I. Sostenuto--Misurato--Prestissimo
Ligeti



Silence
Marteau

SILENCE
The composer calls this piece a "study in silence" though, in contrast to last month's four-and-a-half minute block of no intentional musical sounds (John Cage's 4'33"), this short piece contains quite a few; however, the lack of any familiar harmonic moorings and the relative quiet and brevity of the musical events creates an unusual awareness of the space between those notes. Buried within those notes is the tune "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" (UMH 626) though it is spread throughout the seven octaves of the piano and it is unlikely you will hear it. What will be very obvious, however, is the sudden "irruption" that occurs when "Christ the Lord descendeth" to become man. In the traditional harmonization, this moment of incarnation is represented by the first major chord of the piece (the tune takes its name, PICARDY, from this musical technique). Here, the effect is heightened because it is also the first recognizably tonal chord as well, and the loudest. This sets off a few moments of pianistic pandemonium, after which comes a sudden retreat into the silence from which it came.

The opening voluntary might well be thought of as a study in waiting. After two minutes of the note A, rhythmically inventive and various, the final note of the piece is at last a D. This caused me to nearly laugh out loud at a concert some twenty years ago, because it seemed (according to rules of traditional harmony) as though Ligeti were playing a joke; that elongated single note was, after all, a harmonic preparation for the D, and what appeared to be simply a very cagey demonstration of what you can do with only one note all turned out to be musical prophecy. D also happens to be the first note of the tenor solo for "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" so the introit this morning will follow without pause.


Music for December 4
choir Sunday: Longing for God in word and song
Music for December 11
unified Christmas drama: And He shall be called...Emmanuel
There will be no solo organ/piano music on either of these Sundays.

My job at Faith usually consists of about 90% accompaniment of hymns and praise songs, and only about 10% of the music you hear (and hear about) on these pages. During the month of December it has become customary for each of the services, traditional and contemporary, to have a big Christmas show, although the second of these also incorporates the traditional side of the church which is what makes it "unified." On that Sunday the adult and children's choirs, Sunday school children, praise band, drama team, and a host of volunteers who have done everything from design and build the sets to provide a sugary high for the children take part in a 75-minute Christmas drama. Between this and the usual run of Christmas concerts from the other organizations I play for, the first two weeks of December are the busiest of the year for me. I often am sad that I cannot share any organ or piano music during much of the Christmas season, although I am usually in a state in which it is nice to have one less thing to worry about. This year, however, Christmas falls on a Sunday, so I am planning to play some things of my own during this festive season. In the meantime, however, I am in close collaboration with the whole church as we try to put this thing together at the last minute. The stress is palpable. But there are some really terrific folks here, and we manage to pull through without killing each other.

Music for December 18 Come, Savior of the Gentiles       Redford
Music for December 24

Cradle Song
Grieg

Gloria Patri
Cavazzoni
   

Fugue in G, Bwv 577, "Jig"
J. S. Bach
Music for December 25

Ricercare on the Seventh Tone
Diruta

How Brightly Shines the Morning Star
Buxtehude

Fantasia on the Sixth Tone
Gabrielli
Music for January 1: unified service in worship and life center (TBD; probably improvised)

Christmas Eve is always a Marathon, with services at 5, 7, and 11 (about 90 minutes each time). While last year we had a beautiful snow storm (I know, speak for yourself!) this year was green. It was just as hectic as usual (although nobody changed all my settings while I was out rehearsing with the flute player in the other sanctuary  so I had to reprogram all the keyboard settings at the Fusion service on the fly as happened last year! I think after seven years at Faith I'm getting the hang of it all. And then, at the end, there is the bit with Silent night and the candles, which is really why everybody came, and it is the one time of the year you get to look out and see all of those beaming faces in the darkness (I'm getting misty just writing about it). Unfortunately, nobody ever lights my candle and I'm too busy playing to do it myself, so this year on Christmas morning I complained about it to two friends who had decided to spend the service up in the organ loft with me and one of them lit the candle with his cigarette lighter so that it burned during the entire Christmas Day service. We put Charlie the Church Mouse there to keep it company. It was a special service. I think it was worth going to church on Christmas Day and humbug to anyone who thinks otherwise!

oh, and...Merry Christmas!

 

spring semester

Music for January 8 : Baptism of the Lord

   from Gregorian Album: VIII       Gigout

  Christ, Our Lord, Came to the Jordan   
                                                Buxtehude
With a nod to Epiphany (which we sort of bleeped over this year) comes this brief, exotic sounding selection from Gigout's plainchant-based collection "Gregorian album" from which we will hear several selections this month. Buxtehude's solemn setting of the Lutheran chorale tune is an evocation of our Lord at his baptism. The penultimate measures sound as though he has emerged from the water to heavenly approval.

Buxtehude's setting also strikes me as being full of purpose, and gravity, and mission: the minor key certainly helps, though that is the "fault" of the hymn tune itself, and can't really be credited to the composer. The tempo is also an accomplice, although technically that isn't indicated either. It was mostly my idea, though I think the choice of tempo is informed by the way the piece is written; in other words, it seems like it ought to be that way. I could be wrong, but it seems as though that is what Buxtehude had in mind. I also like the sound of it: again, the registration was up to me (but several other organists take similar approaches; the evidence is online). The part near the end (0:00) seems like sheer drama. The melody stops for several measures, and the harmony remains static, and yet, there seems to be a crescendo (Buxtehude's organ probably couldn't do one, and mine isn't terribly good at it either, so I'm throwing on an extra stop in the pedals). As the dotted figure climbs, the melody sings out over the top, this time with a renewed urgency. There is triumph, accomplishment, but the road leads onward; the ministry is just starting. That, too, is a property of the hymn tune, which doesn't end up where is started, and helps give a feeling, not of complacent return and rest, but that this is just the beginning.

Music for January 15: "We Are Connectional"

from Gregorian Album: VII         Gigout

Rondo from Sonata no. 7 in C    Mozart


Mozart and Wesley
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and John Wesley were contemporaries: both died in 1791, though Wesley was 87 and Mozart a mere 35. They were different in many ways: Mozart's jovial music would have been considered out of place in Mr. Wesley's estimation, particularly in worship. Wesley wasn't subtle about his views, either. Reacting to the very idea of instrumental music in worship, he thundered "Can there be any more direct mockery of God?" Fortunately for those who feel that music (even the instrumental variety) is a wonderful medium for the expression of praise and thanksgiving to God, Mr. Wesley's personal views have not always had the last word.

There is an additional reason for Mozart's music this morning--Mozart often sounds as though it were conversational, creating a connection with the listener, drawing her in through a pleasant dialogue of musical thoughts. And if he seems to talk too much at times, his enthusiasm is surely inviting.

I try not to push back against the founder of our denomination too often (this might be the first time, actually)--it seems like bad form. But one of the great things about the freedom to think and say what you wish is being able to offend even the cherished names of our history. So he was Wesley; does that mean he never did or said or thought anything in need of dissent in his entire life? He wasn't the Lamb of God, after all! Unfortunately, he and many other religious leaders seemed to have a difficult time allowing for discussion. He thought what he thought and that was that. And if he thought instrumental music was a mockery of God, that was that. I'm lucky he doesn't get to decide that any more.

I remember one evening in college when a member of a campus ministry took some of us to their mother church to hear "Brother Titus" speak. At some point in the sermon he saw us in the front row and decided to include an image of the conservatory of music in his teaching. "Can you imagine a more horrible place?" he said. He was referring to all the noise and chaos of the practice wing, with the sound gushing out of all those little rooms, a hundred pieces going at once. But I didn't find it hellish at all. Sure, it didn't make for easy listening, but then, that wasn't the point. Interesting how a person will get an idea in their head, make a value judgment, and decide it applies universally. Sometimes it's kind of hard to avoid doing this, actually.

By the way, I had to write these notes in a hurry (the secretary was going on a mission trip and needed the notes earlier than usual) so I was a bit sloppy in my discussion of Mozart and Wesley. Mozart actually wrote plenty of music for worship--he was a good catholic--and when he did it was usually much more sober and in an antiquated style and for chorus and orchestra rather than for piano or string quartet or something (well, except for those church sonatas, but anyhow....) He knew the rules. And he, too, to judge by a few comments in his letters, seems to have felt that that was just the way you had to do it to please the church authorities. But when he really sang out his whole soul, it wasn't for the church. Seems like there is something to ponder in that.

And of course, I had to choose not simply a Mozart sonata, but a really cheerful, exuberant, extravagant rondo. One of the least dignified movement in the sonatas. An act of defiance, perhaps? I have come to realize that at our church, I really need not fear that going outside the box will get me censure, though, somehow, the thought still makes me a bit uncomfortable. So many writers on church music have come down so hard limiting what ought to be played in church that it still somehow feels like swimming against the current. I haven't noticed it bothering God very much, but his officers are a different matter.

One favorite theme in all this is that music for the worship of God must be at all times dignified (and this piece certainly is not). But enforced dignity, particular on the part of a powerful human institution has a dark side, particular in light of what I read this week from Walter Wink. Here's what he says about dignity in his

Music for January 22
Strengths of Methodism series: We Are Missional
Gregorian Album: I.      Gigout
Fuga XIX         Telemann
Improvisation on "O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing"
        Kseniya Chumachenko, guest organist

Music for January 29
strengths of  Methodism series: We are Socially Conscious

improvisations

I'm out of town the weekend of the 22nd, and making it up on the spot on the 29th. Sorry there isn't anything to listen to this time. Check out the archives (new stuff coming in February)



 

Music for February 5
strengths of Methodist series : We Are Balanced

Sonata in G: Allegro              Mozart

communion music: Adagio from Concerto for Lute
Christian Wileky, guitar

Ave Verum Corpus          Mozart/arr. Liszt
One of the hallmarks of the classical style, and of Mozart's music in particular, is balance. Each phrase is answered by a symmetrical, complimentary phrase which often answers the musical question posed by the first. Perhaps this is one reason Mozart's music is so satisfying. The opening of today's Sonata does this right from the beginning, reversing the first phrase's harmonic sequence which takes us away from the home key to quickly return us there. After this comfortable harmonic palindrome comes two short queries which lead to a first shower of notes which threaten that manicured world--but Mozart repeats all of it to restore propriety--it is now part of a well-balanced order.  But then, in order to get a sense of momentum and propel us into a new key, Mozart follows two short bursts with a third, much longer one, challenging that sense of foreordained enclosure. This practice of following up a simple music phrase with a more ebullient one comes many times in the piece, though through it all Mozart still manages to achieve a sense of poise and like a good architect, distributes the sonata's weight carefully.

 

Music for February 12
Strengths of Methodism series:
We are Working on Perfection

Bach: Come, Creator God, Holy Spirit
 Bwv 667a   (reduced registration)

Bach: Come, Creator God, Holy Spirit
 Bwv 667a    (full organ)


Mozart: Allegretto Grazioso from Sonata in Bb, K. 333
Those who regard the compositions of J. S. Bach as the epitome of perfection may be in a for a nasty surprise this morning: Bach commits an elementary mistake (crude sounding "parallel fifths"). The mistake goes by fast enough you probably will not notice it; however, when Bach revised the piece later in life he fixed the error, along with another spot where the counterpoint was far from smooth: if you hear an awkward patch about 30 seconds in, it might not be the organist's fault!  Even Bach was working toward perfection, and did not always attain it right away. Just to be completely unfair, I've paired it with a selection from one of Mozart's finest piano sonatas. Mozart's music has also been the subject of the highest praise--theologian Karl Barth even supposed it was what  we would hear (domestically, at least) in heaven.  Mozart is popularly supposed to have never revise anything he wrote, though several sketches do exist for a few of his most difficult compositions.

I, too, am working toward perfection, though, like a good post-modern, I don't always assume that the later version is necessarily better than the earlier one; maybe it is just different. In Bach's case, the revised version (Leipzig) is definitely an improvement, though I think there are chorales that are changed and not necessarily better among Bach's Eighteen Chorale Preludes, of which this piece is just one example.

About a month ago, I fished out what is apparently the first recording I made with both microphones, from June of 2010, and posted it here. Having worked my way through most of the earlier Weimar versions of the chorale-preludes, but not the Leipzig versions (long story), I was apprised of the instruction to use 'full organ' only when I turned to the later version to see if Bach had fixed the counterpoint; my ears were telling me he had made a few mistakes (my Baronrieter edition prints them both, each occupying half of the volume). Since Bach hadn't indicated 'full organ' in the earlier edition, I asked whether he intended it when he wrote the earlier version and simply did not write it down, or whether he changed his mind later on and possibly used a different registration when he first performed it. We'll probably never know, but I've now posted a second version of the same piece, using a fuller registration. When I start a blog later this year I'll probably ask people to vote on which one they like better. My guess is it will be the second one since it is louder and faster. The second is an exuberant shout (I like the way Bach doesn't write a long chord at the end) but the first is also danceable, and perhaps benefits from a little more harmonic tension. In the second version I put back one tiny spot right before the page turn in which I had silently edited the piece to match the Leipzig version (I really couldn't stand the b natural and c sharp against the B-flat and c natural); it goes by so fast that it isn't that problematic. Which reminds this Midwesterner of the old Funky Winkerbean comic, with that band director who said "Play everything fast. That way, the mistakes don't last as long!"

By the way, if you are wondering what parallel fifths sound like, here you go. The moment occurs at 1:50 in the full organ recording. Also, the counterpoint is bad in these two other places. (the second is the spot I talked about editing out, above)

Most folks would not notice this, particularly when it goes by fast. So why dwell on it (other than because the sermon topic this morning has to do with striving toward perfection)? Who's it going to bother (besides me, obviously)?

Well, Bach thought these places needed improvement. We know because we have the later version and he changed all three spots (and left most of the rest the same). And I think he was right. Case closed! And, as Jesus would say, "those who have (in this case musical) ears, let them hear!"

I'm sure the rest of you got my point anyway.

Music for February 19 Transfiguration Sunday

Radiant Pinnacle        William Grant Still ©

In connection with our pastor's sermon series: “From Telling No One to Saying Nothing:  Transfiguration to Easter in Mark” I've decided not to tell anybody anything about the music for the next six weeks and simply let the music speak for itself. See you after Easter!
Music for Ash Wednesday: selections from Gigout: Gregorian Album, vol. 1A

I've been meaning to play the Still for a few years and finally got around to it! Whether it has anything to do with the Transfiguration or not, it is certainly atmospheric and fascinating, and it COULD be a musical representation of a holy, mountaintop moment, though the composer is silent on that point (as far as I know). As for the Gigout, you can go to the archives to hear the first volume in its entirety (parts of it still to be posted). The convenient thing about this choice is that it consists of a number of short pieces, so that, say, if the pastor, say, theoretically, comes up to you right before the service and mentions that somebody is going to be late for some reason and can you keep playing prelude music for another five minutes or so you can smile and nod, and just go on playing additional selections from the album without even blinking. (and they really are lovely) I don't remember exactly which ones I played, but I think they were all from about numbers 13-24.

Another convenience about playing several short pieces is that the heart of our Ash Wednesday service is the imposition of ashes and you never know how long that will take, but it suggests quiet, reflective music, similar to communion. We use the Holden Evening Prayer service each year, which gives the entire service the feeling of a Taizé service, which also features short, peaceful selections and a lot of silence in between.


February 26: Preludium in g minor, BuxWV 163    Buxtehude
March 4:    Lord Jesus, I Call to You    
(setting 2)  Telemann 
                 Lord Jesus, I Call to You
    (setting 1)   Telemann
March 11:    Fugue in g minor, Bwv 578  "little"    Bach
March 18:   All Men Must Die     Telemann
March 25:    Fantasia and Fugue in g minor,
Bwv 542    Bach
April 1:  Palm/Passion Sunday    Prelude in D,
Bwv 532   Bach  /
             "Crucifixion" from Symphonie-Passion     Dupre ©

Music for Lent 2012

 



Music for April 8 Easter Sunday

Toccata from Symphonie no. 5






Known simply as the "Widor Toccata," this piece is easily one of the best known organ pieces in the world. Widely associated with resurrection, it is often played at the conclusion of funerals. It has become an Easter postlude tradition at FUMC. Christ has Risen!


Music for April 15 "The Risen Lord Appears in Music" (Psalm 98:1-9)
Jesu Amerfufuka (Our Savior Has Arisen)
     from "African Tunes for Organ" by Carl Heine
        based on a Ganda tune
                  with Gavin Stolte, congas

The 8 o'clock congregation discovered the walls did not fall in when I invited our Fusion (contemporary service) drummer to collaborate with me in this short, peppy tune I purchased ten years ago at a conference and finally got around to playing! Man, did we take it fast. I spent Lent in the German Baroque (17th century) so I'm planning to spend the season between Easter and Pentecost in the 20th/21st century.

Music for April 22 "The Risen Lord Appears in Distress" Psalm 4:1-4
     piano duets and piano-organ duets with Marietta Bigler, piano
By the Cathedral
Percy Wicker MacDonald ©
Near to the Heart of God
Mona Williams Coalter ©
O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing
Mona Williams Coalter ©

Marietta makes her pianistic return to Faith! She hasn't played since October, and in January she lost her husband and her son (to cancer), so it was great to have her back--it seemed as though the entire congregation gave her a big supportive hug. Also, after the service, we found out some folks in our congregation are friends of Mona Coalter!

Music for April 29

there was no instrumental music during this service
"The Moral of the Story:" Unified service (10am) in Worship and Life Center for Children's Musical/Confirmation

Sometimes things work out pretty well. It is marathon Chorale concert weekend (rehearsal Friday evening, all day Saturday, all Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening concert) which takes a lot of energy. It is also literally marathon weekend, though because of the concert I couldn't run in the Illinois Marathon (I was going to go for the Half Marathon this year). At least I only had to show up for one service Sunday morning instead of the usual three, and then I only played two hymns--as close as you can get to a week off without actually having one. I needed the rest.

Music for May 6 "The Risen Lord Appears in Nature"
(Psalm 104:24-34, 35b)

Humoresque L'Organo Primitivo (Toccatina for Flute)
                    Pietro Yon


communion: Come, Creator, Spirit    (verse 1)
                    Titelouze

(There will also be an improvised modern dance during the service)
The title of this piece is almost longer than the piece itself. Pietro Yon (1886-1943) emigrated to the United States in 1907 and was organist at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Among his students was Cole Porter! He wrote this little piece for only one flute stop on the manuals and two in the pedals. Perhaps you can guess from the opening why it seemed appropriate for this week: The Risen Lord Appears in Nature. This is one of two pieces for which Mr. Yon is known today (although I just discovered this one recently, so if you don't know it don't feel bad!). The other is the Christmas song "Gesu, Bambino."

You couldn't have told me twenty years ago that the internet would have become my primary research tool (!) Both of these pieces are things I heard a couple of months ago on the web chasing down something else and realized they would make sense in the context of this service.

Pietro Yon's contribution is supposed to be one of the two pieces for which he is known. Known, perhaps, to those who majored in organ, rather than piano, at the conservatory. I'm still playing catch-up regarding the organ literature. But it was a fun little piece and only took a day to learn. Of course, that truck just had to come down the street during the grand pause in the recording!

Music for May 13

Berceuse from "Dolly" Suite             Faure

Kseniya Chumachenko and Michael Hammer, piano


Rustles of Spring                            Sinding

Kseniya Chumachenko, piano
Unlike the pipe organ, which is usually found in public worship, the piano also has a history in the home. Family members might have gathered around it to sing, and, in some cases, play the piano together. Faure often performed his "Dolly" suite with the children of friends at parties in a scene of domestic relaxation. This was not at all unusual in the 19th century and into the 20th--even the music of the concert hall, such as symphonies of Beethoven, would be arranged for piano duet so that people who couldn't get to the concert could experience the works themselves, most likely in their homes with their friends and relatives.
"Rustles of Spring" also has a familial connection for me, since I often played it as a child at the request of my parents while we were enjoying each other's company. After several popular songs from movies and shows that I arranged by ear, this was usually the first request that was actually written for the piano. The piece is also a favorite with my student, who independently asked to play it a few years ago.


Music for May 20
at 8 o'clock   Emma and Lauren Breen, piano pieces
at 10:30 Doug Balkin and Matt Hart, singers
Two young ladies are playing piano pieces from a recent piano competition at the early service, and two gentlemen are singing at the later one. Unfortunately, three of the four are moving out of the area soon. We'll miss you!

 

Music for May 27    The Day of Pentecost
"The Risen Lord Appears in Congregating"
Psalm 22:25-31

Veni Creator Spiritus (in a different way)  (10:30)
Roland van den Berg

   


Veni Creator Spiritus          Titelouze       (8:00)



note: there is no "processing" at the 8:00 service


Today we are congregating--intentionally. Rather than simply slide into our respective pews as individuals whenever we arrive, we are all going to enter the sanctuary as an assembly of the people of God, more or less at the same time!  When the doors open and the music begins, we will enter the sacred space. This need not be a formal procession--you can dance down the aisle if you want (yeah, that's likely to happen!) You are also encouraged to use all of the various doors to enter. In the eight minutes that follow (hint: take your time finding your pew!) members of the choir will be placing flame colored streamers on the altar. When the single chime sounds to conclude the opening voluntary, members of the congregation will begin reading a verse from today's Psalm in various languages, including  English, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Spanish, and American Sign Language.
"Veni Creator Spiritus" (Come, Creator Spirit) is an ancient church chant prescribed for Pentecost, but in this version, it is given a very modern treatment. I found it posted on the internet by an organist from the Netherlands. You can find the video here It is Mr. van den Berg's own composition, performed on a virtual organ, that is, a keyboard which features sounds recorded from a real church organ. Interestingly, Brett Milan, husband of our former organist, was instrumental in making this sort of thing possible. It is a small , interconnected world---which is perhaps one of the themes of Pentecost.

A lot of time flows by between the time I get an idea and its implementation sometimes. I forget when exactly I stumbled across this Youtube video--some time last fall, I think--and thought, hmmm, cool idea for Pentecost. It isn't the first time I've discovered music on the internet--actually, this year I've come across a whole lot of music that way. It's practically become my primary research tool! But this piece actually exists only online, so far as I know. I'm not sure if there is written music--since it was posted by its creator as a video I left a comment on the page telling him I planned to play the piece for Pentecost at my church and could he send me the music. I never got a response. Probably he never reads the comments of his 400 videos (this one has only been listened to a couple hundred times and has had one prior comment). Since there was no score available I spent an afternoon writing it down from what I heard on the video.

At our RUACH meeting a month ago (that's our committee to bring creative ideas to traditional worship) I mentioned that I'd like us to congregate in a different way, entering the church together at the appointed hour. The folks then started bouncing ideas off each other about flame colored streamers and the reading of a verse from the day's Psalm in different languages. Our resident altar decorator made a flame themed wall decoration for above the altar to go with the flame and dove banner.

A good way to end the season. This is the choir's last Sunday until fall. I feel like the year is over, too, and really need it to be. I don't actually get a break for the summer, but I'm going to take my summer semi-sabbatical in which I improvise the selections for a while. Back when I came up with this it seemed like a great idea, but that was before Lent and Easter and the spring round of concerts and frankly I 'm just tired. But it's been quite a year.

michael@pianonoise.com

Music for 2011-12 at Faith UMC
mp3 files from our sanctuary
Michael Hammer, organ and piano

2010-11
2011-12

2012-13



sermon series: Faith seeking understanding

September 11, 2011
"Does Satan exist?"

Toccata and Fugue in d minor
J. S. Bach

Adagio for Stings
Barber/arr. Strickland ©
September 18, 2011
"Is God All-Powerful?"

Grand Choeur Dialogue
Gigout

O Haupt voll blut und wunden
Telemann



September 25, 2011
"Where Does Sin Come From?

Durch Adams fall ist ganz verderbt
Telemann



October 2, 2011
"Is Christianity the 'Only Way' to Salvation?"

Theme and Variations
unknown Chinese composer



October 9, 2011
"Did the Miracles Actually Happen?"

Nocturne in Eb
Faure


October 16, 2011
"When Did God Decide to Forgive Us?"

In Festive Mood
Scarmolin ©

Threefold Doxology
 arr. Wilson ©

Marietta Bigler, piano
Michael Hammer, organ ©




October 23, 2011
"Can a Christian Be Saved Outside the Church?"

Karen Ranney, flute

Sonata in Eb                        J. S. Bach
       Allegro Moderato
       Siciliano



October 30, 2011
"Does God Have Everything Mapped Out?"

4'33"
John Cage  ©

Psalm IX
(version 1, version 2, version 3)
Marteau

because this piece can be played an infinite number of ways, I am including three versions of it here!



November 6, 2011
"Is There an Actual Heaven and Hell?"

Prelude to the Heroic Gate of Heaven
Satie



November 13, 2011
"When Did Jesus Become Christ?"


Now Thank We All Our God
J. S. Bach, Bwv 657a



November 20, 2011

Scherzo, Op. 2
Durufle ©



November 27, 2011
Advent Theme: Waiting

Musica Ricercata:
I. Sostenuto--Misurato--Prestissimo
Ligeti ©

Silence
Marteau



December 4, 2011
choir Sunday:
Longing for God with word and song



December 11, 2011
unified Christmas drama: "And He shall be called...Emmanuel"



December 18, 2011

Come, Savior of the Gentiles
Redford



December 24, 2011
Christmas Eve (7 and 11pm)

Cradle Song
Grieg

Gloria Patri
Cavazzoni

Fugue in G, Bwv 577, "Jig"
J. S. Bach


December 25, 2011
Christmas Day

Ricercare on the 7th Tone
Diruta

How Brightly Shines the Morning Star
Buxtehude

Fantasia on the 6th tone
Gabrielli



January 1, 2012
Unified service in Worship and Life center
(selections improvised)



Spring Semester

January 8, 2012
Baptism of the Lord Sunday

from Gregorian Album: VIII   Gigout

Christ, our Lord, Came to the Jordan
Buxtehude



Wes Wilkey’s Series on Methodism
“Five Strengths of United Methodism”
(Ordinary Time between Baptism of the Lord and Transfiguration, 2012)

January 15, 2012
"We Are Connectional"
2 Corinthians 8:1-19

 from Gregorian Album: VII   Gigout

from Sonata no. 7 in C: Rondeau
Mozart



January 22, 2012
"We Are Missional"
James 1:22-27

Gregorian Album: I.      Gigout
Fuga XIX         Telemann
Improvisation on "O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing"

        Kseniya Chumachenko, guest organist

January 29, 2012
"We Are Socially Conscious"
Micah 4:1-4
improvisation


February 5, 2012
"We Are Balanced"
2 Peter 1:16-21


Sonata in G, k. 283: I. Allegro
Mozart

Ave Verum Corpus
Mozart/Liszt



February 12, 2012
"We Are Working on Perfection"
1 John 4:15-21

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator God
J. S. Bach

Sonata in Bb, k.333: Allegretto
Mozart


February 19, 2012
Transfiguration Sunday

Radiant Pinnacle
William Grant Still ©



February 26, 2012
First Sunday in Lent

Preludium in g minor
 BuxWV 163
Buxtehude



March 4, 2012

Lord Jesus, I Call to You     (setting 2) 
Lord Jesus, I Call to You
    (setting 1)
  Telemann




March 11, 2012

Bach: Fugue in G minor ("little")
Howlett: I Will Arise And Go to Jesus

posted by permission of Greg Howlett
Greg's blog is at
www.Greghowlett.com

the music for this arrangement
(and others) can be found
here


March 18, 2012
All Men Must Die     Telemann



March 25, 2012

Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in g minor



April 1, 2012
Palm Sunday

Bach: Prelude in D, Bwv 532
Dupre: The Crucifixion




April 8, 2012
Easter Sunday

Toccata from Symphonie no. 5
Widor


Sermon Series, Eastertide, 2012
April 15th – May 27th (excluding April 29th)“Where and How the Risen Lord Appears Today” Through the Lectionary Psalms of Eastertide


April 15, 2012
"The Risen Lord Appears in Music"
Psalm 98:1-9

Yesu Amefufuka ©
(Our Savior Has Arisen)
from "African Tunes for Organ"
Carl Heine

Gavin Stolte, congas




April 22, 2012
"The Risen Lord Appears in Distress"
Psalm 4:1-8

with Marietta Bigler, piano

By the Cathedral
Percy Wicker MacDonald ©

Near to the Heart of God
Mona Williams Coalter ©

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing
Mona Williams Coalter ©



April 29, 2012

children's musical and confirmation sunday: unified service

selections improvised (based on Children's Sunday school tunes, probably)



May 6, 2012
"The Risen Lord Appears in Nature"
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Humoresque L'Organo Primitivo (Toccatina for Flute)
Pietro Yon


communion: Come, Creator, Spirit
(verse 1)
Titelouze

(There will also be an improvised modern dance by Kristen Ehrenberger and Lindsey Vallance during the service)



May 13, 2012
"The Risen Lord Appears in Family"
Psalm 133:1-3

with Kseniya Chumachenko, piano

"Berceuse" from "Dolly" suite
Gabrielle Faure

Rustles of Spring
Sinding




May 20, 2012
"The Risen Lord Appears in Excitement"
Psalm 47:1-9

selections for voice and for piano solo by members of the congregation


May 27, 2012
The Day of Pentecost
"The Risen Lord Appears in Congregating"
Psalm 22:25-31

Veni Creator Spiritus (in a different way)
Roland van den Berg


summer 2012
June 3-17 "sabbatical"
(improvisations)


June 24, 2012
Men's summer ensemble



July , 2012
more improvising




August 5, 2012

I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath
Marteau



August 12, 2012

Holy, Holy, Holy!
Marteau

How Can I Keep from Singing?
Marteau



 August 19, 2012

Kseniya Chumachenko, sub-organist

Adore te Devote   Stell
Invention no. 4  J. S. Bach
Praise and Thanksgiving  Stell


August 26, 2012

with Marietta Bigler, piano

Prayer  (composer?) ©
Wonderful Words of Life   arr. Lani Smith ©
Crown Him with Many Crowns
arr. Mona Williams Coalter ©


 September 2, 2012

with Camille Rose, violin

Sonata in G
Marteau

Passacaglia
Marteau