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Sunday’s Worship Music

Sunday, November 18

Voluntary
Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2 – Johannes Brahms

Offertory
(8:30) Youth Choir
(11:00) Ev’ry time I feel the spirit – arr. William L. Dawson

THIS MORNING’S VOLUNTARY is taken from Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118, and is one of the most beloved compositions that Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote for solo piano. Like many great composers, Brahms was a child prodigy. Later, as a teenager, he would earn money playing the piano in the brothels that dotted Hamburg’s docks while playing the occasional piano recital and trying his hand at composition. He would grow to become one of the greatest composers of all time, and it was Hans von Bülow (1830-1894), one of the most famous conductors of the 19th Century, who dubbed him one of The Three Bs (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms). Completed in 1893 and dedicated to his close friend Clara Schumann, Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118 was the penultimate composition published during his lifetime. Introspective in nature, it was also his penultimate work composed for piano.

Sunday, November 25

Voluntary
Majeur from Offertoire sur les Grands jeux – François Couperin

Offertory
(8:30) Dialogue (Basse de Trompette) – Couperin
(11:00)  My Eternal King – Jane Marshall

THIS MORNING’S ORGAN MUSIC: In celebration of Christ the King Sunday, this morning’s organ music has Royal antecedents. François Couperin, organist to Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles’ Chappelle Royale, was only 22 when the King granted him the right to publish this music. The Voluntary is a portion of Couperin’s magnificent Offertoire, one of twenty-seven pieces he composed specifically for use in parish churches during the Mass. Much like Bach’s triple-fugue in E-flat Major, Couperin’s Offertoire is a tripartite work which extols the glory of the Holy Trinity. This morning we hear that part of the Offertoire which pays homage to the “Motivity of the Holy Spirit.” Throughout this work, Couperin employs the French Overture rhythm, often called the Royal rhythm, in which groupings of two notes, a long note followed by a short note, are heard in succession. This rhythmic device popular in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century France imparts a regal and stately grandeur to the music.