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Good Shepherd Sunday May 7, 2022

The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, and Psalm 23 is always featured. There are so many wonderful tunes and composers for this psalm, you will hear it several times today!

We have a guest French horn player today, Tim McCarthy, who always plays for us on Easter Sunday. The prelude is an arrangement of an aria from G.F. Handel’s opera “Giulio Cesare in Egitto” (Julius Caesar in Egypt HWv 17), composed in 1724 .  “Va tacito e nascosto” (“Silently and stealthily”) is a countertenor aria with a horn part, here arranged just for the horn I See a Huntsman.

The first hymn is Hymn 645, the Irish tune ST. COLUMBA with the paraphrase by Henry William Baker (1821-1877) The King of Love My Shepherd Is. Sir Henry was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated, and became, in 1851, Vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire. He edited the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern.The descant is by a friend, Thaddeus Cavuoti (1955-2021). Following graduation from Williams College in Massachusetts, Tad spent 38 years as a Music Teacher at the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland. He served as the Organist and Music Director at Christ Episcopal Church in Rockville MD for 24 years and then Colesville Presbyterian Church since ‘18, while playing and singing throughout the DC area and around the world.

One thing I try to do in choir is teach the kids how to mentor each other, and our choristers’ anthem today illustrates this musically. Helen Kemp’s beautiful setting The Good Shepherd casts the older trebles (“Blue Choir”- I have them in the gallery) as the Shepherd, and the younger singers as the sheep looking for leadership from them. Of course the younger kids complained (“why do we have to be the sheep???!) and I love pointing out how in a year or two they will be the Shepherd! Speaking of mentoring, so much of what I learned about working with children’s choirs I learned from the composer of this piece, Helen Kemp (1918-2015). I had the privilege of studying with her for a week in the summer at Westminster Choir College in the 1980s, and afterwards every chance I got to see her at a workshop or convention. She was known internationally as a specialist in the area of training young voices, and meant so much to so many choral conductors. You can read more about her here.

The intersection of Mother’s Day and Good Shepherd Sunday calls for Bobby McFerrin (b.1950)’s tribute to his mother in female pronouns which is his setting of Psalm 23. This piece show’s McFerrin’s roots growing up singing in the Episcopal church, as it is basically Anglican chant with jazzy chords and moving use of word accents and rests. Bobby McFerrin is an amazing vocal artist. Since 1982, he’s released a dozens of major CDs, focusing on a cappella vocals (both solo and multitracked) and collaborations, with classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma and with jazz pianist Chick Corea and others. He has the distinction of begetting not only a phrase, but also a cultural mindset with his most famous recording, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” I think of my mom when I do this piece, because she actually attended a Wednesday morning Bible study class with him at St. Paul’s Church in Chestnut Hill, Philadephia about 15 years ago. She referred to him as “that nice young man with dreadlocks that everyone seems to know.” So my family ended up singing this piece at Mom’s memorial service in 2011.

The offertory is a setting of Psalm 23 (King James version) by Paul Basler (b.1963), 1993-94 Fulbright Senior Lecturer in music at Kenyatta University (Nairobi, Kenya), who is currently Professor of Music at the University of Florida (1995-96 Teacher of the Year). One of the most performed composers of his generation, recipient of many grants, Basler is also an accomplished horn player. Psalm 23 is from a large scale, multi-movement work, Songs of Faith, written in 1998 as a sequel to the composer’s acclaimed Missa Kenya. The piano and the horn serve as equal counterparts to the choral parts. Psalm 23 was written for and dedicated to Andre Thomas and the Florida State University Singers.

The communion hymn is #178, (Alleluia No.1) with our horn player and the children ringing bell parts. According to, “Donald E. Fishel (b. 1950) composed both text and tune ‘rather spontaneously’ during the summer of 1971 in a house on Church Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The hymn was first sung in services of the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, a charismatic Roman Catholic congregation that Fishel had then recently joined; he later served that community as publications editor of Servant Music (1973-1981). Fishel received a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education from the University of Michigan in 1972 and a degree in computer science from Eastern Michigan University in 1983. Since then he has worked in the computer industry.”

The closing hymn is Savior Like Shepherd Lead Us, the words of which were first found in a Children’s Hymnal from 1830. The tune is SICILIAN MARINERS. According to SICILIAN MARINERS is traditionally used for the Roman Catholic Marian hymn O Sanctissima. According to tradition, Sicilian seamen ended each day on their ships by singing this hymn in unison. The tune probably traveled from Italy to Germany to England, where The European Magazine and London Review first published it in 1792. The tune was associated with the German Christmas carol O du Frohliche, O du Selige.

The tune also appears to have had an influence on the African American song We Shall Overcome. Below is a fantastic 8 minute video about the roots of “We Shall Overcome” that traces the tune back through Mahalia Jackson, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Charles Tindley, “No More Auction Block” to North Carolina Civil War Bands. I may have shared this before, but it is worth sharing again.

The postlude is based on the communion hymn Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks. Jeffrey Honoré is a Catholic musician serving as liturgical music director of St. Matthias Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he directs the archdiocesan choir. He is an organist, trombonist and voice teacher. He received the Vatican II Award for Distinguished Service in 1999. The tune is set out in the trumpet over joyful rapid toccata-like figurations in the hands.

Sunday Music Musings April 30, 2022 Saul! Saul!

Egil Hovland (1924-2013) is a Norwegian especially known for his church music. His gorgeous and lyrical Stay With Us is a particular favorite of Lutheran choirs. Saul!, opus 74, for mixed choir (SATB), speaker and organ  (1971) is very different, a dissonant composition meant to actually recreate part of our lesson from Acts, in which Saul is struck down. It includes a lot of aleatoric singing for the choir, that is, the singers sing a phrase over and over at their own pace, creating an atmosphere.

Narrator: And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him.  But Saul laid waste the church, entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.  Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.  Unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.

Chorus: Saul breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.

Narrator: Saul breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.  He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus.  So that if any be found belonging to the WAY, men or women, he might bring them bound in chains back to Jerusalem.

Chorus: So that if any be found belonging to the WAY, men or women, he might bring them bound in chains back to Jerusalem.

Narrator: Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him:

Chorus: Saul, why, why, why do you persecute, why do you persecute me?

The choristers will sing an anthem at the offertory by Mark Miller (b. 1967), Feed My Sheep. This is not published, but part of a children’s musical he wrote with Laurie Zelman (a frequent collaborator) and it has been a favorite of my children for 20 years. Mark serves as Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also is the Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit. He is a Yale and Julliard educated passionate composer and advocate for the power of music to change the world. You can catch Mark Sunday afternoon at Chatham United Methodist Church doing a FREE workshop and community sing with the New Jersey Youth Chorus!

Mark and Anne – possibly younger than today

I’ve had a great time with the choristers continuing to work with bells for Eastertide, and they are ringing in the Gloria and two hymns.

The last hymn, Now the Green Blade Riseth (NOEL NOUVELET) is another example of a good Christmas tune being used for Easter (like last week’s PUER NOBIS NASCITUR). The text by Anglican theologian and poet John McCleod Campbell Crumm (1872-1958) compares resurrection to budding seeds that have seemed dead through the winter. Henry will play a setting by Raymond Haan (b. 1938), Director of Music for the Cutlerville East Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, since 1960. The postlude is a setting by Mark Sedio who serves Cantor at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. In addition he has held teaching positions both at Augsburg University and Luther Seminary.

Sorry I have not had time to write about every piece today. You can tell the world is getting back to pre-pandemic performance levels, which feels so great! Friday night a wonderful harpist, Merynda Adams gave a recital at Grace, which was well attended and raised almost $1500 for the Madison Baptist Food Pantry which we support at Grace. I had the JOY of playing Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975) Aria in Classic Style for organ and harp in the program — which is a most gorgoues piece! There was a whole group of scouts at the concert, learning about attending live performance, and they all had their picture taken with the harp! After that I asked if they wanted to see the organ and their enthusiastic response lead to a nice organ demo during which they asked lots of fantastic questions!

Sunday Music Musings April 23, 2022

I am still both recovering from and celebrating Holy Week. For the first time since pandemic, all the music was full, the choirs were singing in combined forces and my heart is happy! Especially the younger children who had not yet experienced big “together” anthems were having a thrill, and I can already feel a difference in the way they sing out with confidence! You can still see all the services on the Grace Church YouTube Channel.

Remember Easter is a great 50 days!—but the Sunday after can seem notoriously low (especially with a few school district spring breaks thrown in!)—but we will keep it festive with LOTS of bell-ringing in hymns tomorrow. The traditional hymn for the first Sunday after Easter is O Sons and Daughters, based on a French Noel (O filii et filiae) and telling the story of doubting Thomas. The text is attributed to French Franciscan monk Jean Tisserand (d. 1494) in translation by the prolific Anglican priest and scholar, John M. Neale (1818 -1866). I had fun discussing “doubting Thomas” with the choristers on Friday. It was also Earth Day and we starting working on Ken Medema’s Tree Song. Here is an old video – see if you can spot our head choristers as second graders!

The prelude is a setting of this tune (O Filii) by renowned Lebanese-French organist, composer, and improviser Naji Hakim (b.1955). He studied under Jean Langlais, and succeeded Messiaen as organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité, Paris. This short variation cycle in was composed in 2012. The four short variations are Andante – Energico – Allegro – Allegro.

For Psalm 150 the adults will sing a wonderful 2-part version by John Harper (b. 1947) leader of the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) since 1998. He has had a life-long career in church and choral music, starting as a chorister at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge under the direction of Boris Ord and Sir David Willcocks. Harper was Organist at Magdalen College, Oxford, in the 1980s, and has held academic lectureships in musicology at the universities of Birmingham and Oxford, and the Chair in Music at the University of Wales, Bangor. This setting uses the trumpet stop on the organ as an integral part of illustrating the psalm (“praise him with the sound of the trumpet…praise him with strings and pipe”). (If the choir doesn’t articulate the final “P” loud enough, it sounds like we are praising him with pie—which would be okay too!)

My go-to anthem for the Sunday after Easter (should I admit we had not practiced beyond Holy Week?) is a cheerful motet by Adam Gumpelzhaimer, (1559 –1625), a Bavarian composer and music theorist. Cantor at the Augsburg Cathedral from 1581-1625, he had ample occasion to compose sacred music in the early baroque style. He was a great admirer of Hans Leo Hassler and collected his works which undoubtedly an influence. There are certain words which have lots and lots of notes on one syllable, making the word of the day MELISMA.

A melisma

The last hymn is That Easter Day with Joy was Bright, the tune Puer nobis nascitur (“a boy is born”) which is a clue that this is a Christmas tune being sung to an Easter text. The ancient (5th century) words are set to a 15th century tune adapted by the great Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). Henry will play a short setting by the French composer and harpsichordist Jean-François Dandrieu (1681-1738), member of a musical family, who was organist from 1705 at the church of St Merry in Paris, and appointed an organist of the royal chapel in 1721.  

I will play some of Dandrieu’s variations on O filii et filiae (O sons and Daughters) for the postlude.

Sunday afternoon at 3pm 20 members of Harmonium Choral Society will give a one hour concert for all ages at Christ Church Short Hills, with works ranging from medieval to modern, rounds, Yiddish sing-alongs for peace, and a sea shanty! Composers include Alice Parker, Sarah Quartel, Andrea Ramsey, Mari Valverde and more. Bring the kids–or not! Donation at the door. Come if you can!

Happy Eastertide!

Palm Sunday Music Musings April 9, 2022

On Friday our organ scholar Henry Marinovic played for our noon Lenten recital. He did a fantastic job and you can hear it here.

One of the pieces he will play for the prelude on Sunday. Here are his notes:

Jeanne Demessieux (1921-1968) was a prolific twentieth-century French organist, teacher, and composer. She made history as the first female organist to sign a record contract. The clarion stop usage in registration and the frequent repetition of the open-fifths motif give this piece, Hosanna Filio David, written in 1947 as part of a set of “Twelve Choral-Preludes on Gregorian Chant Themes”, a distinctively fanfare-like quality.

The Palm Sunday Liturgy is different from the rest of the year—as we gather around the blessing of the palms and the triumphal entry Gospel before processing to All Glory Laud and Honor. It is really different this year as we are processing while singing for the first time in 3 years! I suddenly realized this in School Choirs rehearsal on Friday, and we DID do some practicing walking, singing, carrying hymnals, etc. but for my 2nd and 3rd graders this is really a first, so be kind! The first Palm Sunday was pretty chaotic, right?

During the distribution (before we process) we will sing a piece from Zimbabwe that I learned from Mark Miller. Here’s a more authentic recording from the Soweto Gopsel Choir!

Njalo means “always.” Always we pray, always we give, always we bless!

Once we get up front the Chapel Choir (Pre-K to 1st grade) joined by the older School Choir kids will sing the favorite Natalie Sleeth (1930 – 1992) anthem Little Gray Donkey.

The service shifts from triumphal entry to Passion Week, and the choristers will stay to sing the spiritual Were You There before the Passion reading. I love teaching this to kids, and we also sang it as we did a Stations of the Cross for kids last Wednesday night in a gray mist.

Right before the Passion reading we will all sing the “Passion Chorale” O Sacred Head Sore Wounded, by the great German Baroque composer Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) which is found so many times in Bach Passions and cantatas. Here it is in Harmonium’s performance of St. Matthew Passion in 2019 (32:54). Also at 56:15, and at 1:16:20 we sang in English with the audience.

Our anthem is Solus Ad Victimam which means “alone to sacrifice” and is actually sung in English. It is a fantastic piece to sum up the sadness of Passion Sunday with looking forward to Easter, with the composer’s unique blend of lyricism and dissonance. Scottish composer Kenneth Leighton (1926-1990) was one of the most distinguished of the British post-war composers; with over 100 published compositions, and I wrote more about him here last week.

One of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever performed in many years of Holy Week programming is the Stabat Mater by G.P.Pergolesi (1710 – 1736). During communion the Daughters of Zion (High School Girls) will sing the first movement, with yearning dissonances expressing the sadness of the Mother of Jesus standing below her son on the cross. Italian composer Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater was commissioned to be performed at the Franciscan church of San Luigi de Palazzo in Naples as an annual Good Friday meditation in honor of the Virgin Mary.  First published in London in 1749, the Stabat Mater became the most frequently printed single work in the eighteenth century.  The real appeal of Pergolesi’s style was his ability to unite old and new; the counterpoint of the stile antico, and the decorative language of Neapolitan opera into the church aria.

As we turn our thoughts towards the week ahead, a hymn I always like to do is Sunset to Sunrise Changes Now, the words of Clement of Alexandria (c.170-220) as paraphrased by Howard Chandler Robbins (1876-1952). Here we find another New Jersey connection as the Yale and EDS educated priest Robbins served as Curate at St. Pe­ters, Mor­ri­stown, and Rec­tor of St. Pauls, En­gle­wood before moving on to be the Rec­tor of Church of the In­ca­rn­ation, New York Ci­ty, Dean of the Ca­thed­ral of St. John the Di­vine, and Pro­fes­sor of Pas­tor­al The­ol­o­gy at Gen­er­al The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry (re­tired 1941). The text reconciles the pain and horror of Calvary with the “gleams of eternity” that is Easter to come. It is so aptly pared with the yearning minor key Sacred Harp tune KEDRON by Elkanah Dare (1782-1826).

The Postlude is Chaconne for Good Friday by June Nixon (b. 1942), one of Australia’s best known organists, choir trainers and composers. She was appointed Organist and Director of Music at St. Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne in 1973 and is on the teaching staff of Melbourne University Faculty of Music. A chaconne, or passacaglia is a set of variations over a bass line, in this case the organ pedals. It starts strong and gets softer and softer leading us into the introspection of the coming week.

I hope to see you you:

Maundy Thursday 7 pm music by Mozart, Owen, Taize and more, Adults, Gargoyles, and trebles 6th grade and up

Good Friday noon Adult and Teens, music by Willan, Widmar and more

Saturday 7 pm Taize Vigil, choirs and oboe, flute, recorder, strings, trumpet, bells and more. Repulski Exsultet.

Easter Sunday 8 a.m. with trumpet and organ

Easter Sunday 10 a.m. with combined choirs brass and organ, bells. Music by Benda Portman, David Hurd, Gwyneth Walker, Jacob Handl, Richard Hillert, Jeffrey Rickard and Widor’s Toccata of course!

Choir I will see a lot more with a Tuesdy 7 pm rehearsal

and call times

Thursday: 6:15

Friday 11:15 and choristers rehearsal at 3:30, Vigil Band 4:30

Saturday 6 pm call

Sunday 9:15 (think 9 and be ‘on time is early’ like marching band!)

Lenten Recital April 1, 2022

LENTEN ORGAN RECITAL April 1 2022 12:15 p.m.

Dr. Anne Matlack, organ, Kris Lamb, flute

A Fancy for Two to Play                                                         Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656)

     with Henry Marinovic, organ

Erhalt uns, Herr (The Glory of These Forty Days) organ       Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

Erhalt uns, Herr   flute                                                   Thomas Keesecker (b. 1956)

Take up your Cross (Bourbon) organ                                     Charles Ore (b.1936)

Take up your Cross       flute                                         Keesecker

Pange Lingua (Sing My Tongue) organ                         Wilbur Held (1914-2015)

Pange Lingua        flute                                                   Keesecker

Three Gospel Scenes                                                     James Biery          (b. 1956)

     Jesus in the Desert

     The Woman at the Well

     The Prodigal Son

Anne Matlack is organist-choir director at Grace Church where she directs a full program of choirs.  She holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from the University of Cincinnati.  Her organ teachers have included Charles Krigbaum (Yale) and David Mulbury (Cincinnati) as well as serving as organist/choir director at Grace Church, she is Artistic Director of Harmonium Choral Society. This series was founded by her predecessor Helen E.J. Thomas in the 1950s, and even during 2021 we did a virtual concert of women composers in her honor which can be found on the Grace Church YouTube Channel.

Active for over 30 years as a performer and educator, Kris Lamb’s musical interests are diverse and include early, classical and world music using an assortment of historical, traditional and modern flutes. In addition to free-lance work with area ensembles, theater groups and places of worship, Kris performs with The Early Music Players, The Dolce Trio, Idyllwood, Chester Baroque, and the Eclectic Consort.  She has appeared on a variety of music recordings and also enjoys sharing the gift of music to support worthy causes.

Next week: Friday April 8 – Henry Marinovic, organ scholar

                             works by Bach, Brahms, Franck, Demessiuex, Rutter

Last Chanted Compline of the season: Thursday April 7, 8:30-8:45 p.m.

Sunday Music Musings April 2, 2022

Kenneth Leighton (1926-1990) was one of the most distinguished of the British post-war composers; with over 100 published compositions. His work is frequently performed and broadcast both in Britain and in other countries. As a pianist Kenneth Leighton was a frequent recitalist and broadcaster, both as a soloist and in chamber music. Leighton was a chorister at Wakefield Cathedral and studied at Queen’s College, Oxford, graduating with degrees in both Classics and music, having studied with Bernard Rose. In 1955 he was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Edinburgh where he was made Senior Lecturer, Reader, and then Reid Professor of Music in October 1970. His works include choral classics like Lully Lulla, to Evening services, and organ and piano works. Leighton’s music is a unique blend of lyricism and dissonance, as demonstrated by our prelude, a setting of ROCKINGHAM (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross/My God Thy Table Now is Spread). This tune is attributed to Edward Miller (c.1735 – 1807) an English musician, composer and historian, who was for a time flutist in Handle’s orchestra.

The choristers have been working on an Anglican staple, Ex Ore Innocentium by John Ireland (1879 –1962). The words are by the Anglican Bishop of Wakefield, William Walsham How (1823-1897) (Author of For All the Saints).

It is a thing most wonderful,

almost too wonderful to be,

that God’s own Son should come from heaven,

and die to save a child like me.

And yet I know that it is true:

he chose a poor and humble lot,

and wept, and toiled, and mourned, and died,

for love of those who loved him not.

I sometimes think about the cross,

and shut my eyes, and try to see

the cruel nails and crown of thorns

and Jesus crucified for me.

But even could I see him die,

I could but see a little part

of that great love, which, like a fire,

is always burning in his heart.

And yet I want to love thee, Lord;

O light the flame within my heart,

and I will love thee more and more,

until I see thee as thou art.

The title means “Out of the mouths of children” and the children really enjoy this piece, and we’ve been talking about the words, how Jesus felt actual pain and did actual work (“toil”) and working on our high notes. Someday I will play the organ accompaniment as I should, but with several children plus my Choir Assistant away, I’ll conduct from the piano.

Ireland was an English composer and teacher of music. The majority of his output consists of piano miniatures and of songs with piano. His best-known works include the short instrumental or orchestral work “The Holy Boy”, a setting of the poem “Sea-Fever” by John Masefield, a formerly much-played Piano Concerto. Ireland studied at and later taught at the Royal College of Music. From 1897 he studied composition under Charles Villiers Stanford. In From 1904 until 1926, he was organist and choirmaster at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea. He is best known by choirs for Greater Love Hath No Man and the hymn we will also sing today, LOVE UNKNOWN, with words by Samuel Crossman (1623-1684): My song is love unknown. It is said to have been written by Ireland in a quarter of an hour on a scrap of paper.

Our anthem is a very old evening motet, O Salutaris Hostia, by Pierre de la Rue, (c.1452 -1518) a Franco-Flemish composer and singer of the Renaissance. Much of it is very static, then it breaks into some ecstatic imitation near the end of each verse.

During communion, the Gargoyles will sing an arrangement of the spiritual My Lord What a Morning.  I just love how well these guys know each other now and blend and make music. The organ communion offering, postlude (J.G Walther(1684 -1748)) and communion hymn (Let Thy Blood in mercy poured) are to the tune Jesu meine zuversicht. This tune was first published in 1653 and credited to Johann Crüger 1598 – 1662). The English translation is by Scottish minister John Brownlie (1857-1925). If the children sing the refrain out, I’ve been know to get emotional…

The closing hymn is When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, with words by the great Isaac Watts (1674-1748) and using the tune ROCKINGHAM which opened the service.

That’s all folks, its late because my adults did a wonderful Evensong today, for the Eve of St. Richard of Chester (1197 – 3 April 1253), So here is his prayer for all of us doing daily worship work:

Almighty and most merciful God, who calls your people to yourself, we pray that, following the example of your bishop Richard of Chichester, we may see your Son Jesus Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sunday Music Musings March 26, 2022

The prelude is a dramatic organ depiction of today’s gospel lesson. Each one of James Biery‘s (b. 1956) Three Gospel Scenes tell a story using a hymn tune.  The third one, The Prodigal Son, illustrates several features of the parable: straying, hardship, contrition, and reconciliation.  The opening bass theme, repeated throughout the piece as a passacaglia, represents the constant and unchanging love of the father.  As the variations progress, the son leaves his father, travels to a distant land, and seeks his fortune.  At first things seem to go well, then famine breaks out and he finds himself hungry enough to eat the corn he is feeding the pigs, and the music gets angst-filled.  In desperation he longs to return to his father’s estate where he was better off as a hired hand.  When the father welcomes him home with open arms, the theme is transformed to the major key, and the hymn The King of Love My Shepherd is is quoted.

Al Shlosha D’varim  is a favorite of our choristers, so it was time to introduce it again! It is a lyrical setting of an essential maxim from Jewish morality laws, translated to mean: “The world is sustained by three things: by truth, by justice, and by peace.” This seems always appropriate to pray thought singing. Allan Naplan (b.1970) has been executive director of Arizona Musicfest since 2013. He is an operatic baritone, composer and administrator who grew up in Massachusetts. At the Ithaca College School of Music Naplan earned degrees in both vocal performance and music education, with more than one million copies of his work sold since 1994. A lot of his treble works are a fusion of Jewish music and jazz and gospel. The opening solo will be sung by head chorister Elisabeth Wielandy.

Our sequence hymn is the very popular but anonymous tune NETTLETON with the words Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson (1735 –1790). Robinson was an English Dissenter, influential Baptist and scholar who made a lifelong study of the antiquity and history of Christian Baptism. He wrote the hymn at age 22 after converting to Methodism (on his way to becoming a Baptist!)

Our offertory is the gorgeous motet Ubi caritas. Pianist-composer Ola Gjeilo was born in Norway in 1978 and moved to New York in 2001 to study composition at The Juilliard School. His Ubi Caritas has enjoyed choral success since it was written in 2001. Like Duruflé’s famous setting it draws inspiration from Gregorian chant.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.                    Where charity and love are, God is there.

Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.          Christ’s love has gathered us into one.

Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.                Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.

Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.              Let us fear and let us love the living God.

Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.                 And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

Amen.                                                             Amen.

During Communion we sing another great Calvin Hampton (1938-1984) tune, ST. HELENA. I just wrote about him on March 13 when we sang DE TAR, another favorite. The words There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy are by Frederick William Faber (1814 –1863), a noted English hymn writer and theologian, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1845. He was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1847. His best-known hymn is Faith of Our Fathers.

The final hymn is Eternal Lord of Love, written for the HYMNAL 1982 by English professor Thomas H. Cain (1931-2003), telling of the Lenten journey to Easter. Cain was Professor of English literature at McMaster University for 31 years, and was author of Common Sense About Writing (1967). As well as being a scholar of Edmund Spenser, author and teacher, he was a regular church organist from his boyhood, and lifelong choral singer in the Anglican church.

Loys “Louis” Bourgeois (c. 1510 – 1559) was a French composer and music theorist of the Renaissance. He is most famous as one of the main compilers of Calvinist hymn tunes in the middle of the 16th century. The tune GENEVAN 124 (also known as OLD 124TH or TOULON) was first published in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter.

The postlude is a short set of Variations on NETTLETON by Undine Smith Moore (1904 –1989). Known to some as the “Dean of Black Women Composers,” Undine Smith Moore‘s career in composition began while she was at Fisk. While her range of compositions includes works for piano and for other instrumental groups, Moore is more widely known for her choral works. Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, a 16-part oratorio on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for chorus, orchestra, solo voices and narrator was premiered at Carnegie Hall and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Undine Smith Moore

You can watch the last two Lenten organ recitals on the Grace Church YouTube Channel, and please join us Saturday April 2 for candlelight Evensong at 5!

Helen Thomas Memorial recital with Patricia Ruggles March 25, 2022

Helen Thomas Memorial Friday Lenten Recital March 25, 2022

Here is the full program for March 25th’s noontime recital which can also be viewed live afterwards on the Grace Church YouTube Channel. If you can come live, the performers thank you! Happy Annunciation Day!


March 25, 2022, 12:15 p.m.  The Annunciation of Mary

Magnificats and More

Patricia Ruggles, mezzo       Dr. Anne Matlack, organ

Order for Noonday Prayers                                           Book of Common Prayer p.103

The Angel Gabriel                                                                    Basque Carol

Two Settings of The Angel Gabriel (organ)                             Paul Bryant (b.1950)

                                                                                      Paul Manz (1919-2009)

Magnificat                                                                       George Dyson (1883-1928)

Magnificat and Trio (organ)                                           J.P. Dandrieu (1681-1738)

Et Exaltavit Humiles                                                     Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal (b. 1967)

    From Magnificat

Ave Maria                                                                      attrib. Guilio Caccini

Magnificat on the 9th tone (organ-3 movements)            Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654)

Esurientes Implevit                                                        J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

    From Magnificat


The angel Gabriel from heaven came

His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,

Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,

All generations laud and honor thee,

Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,

Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,

“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,

“My soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name.”

Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born

In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,

And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say–

“Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Words:  Basque carol; para. Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) British priest and hymnodist of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

Music:  Gabriel’s Message, Basque carol; harm. Edgar Petman (1865-1943)

The first organ setting of this carol is by British composer Paul Bryan, Director of Music at St John’s College School, Cambridge for twenty years, now a Freelance Organist, Pianist, Composer and Accompanist and Director of Chantry Sound.

The second is by the prolific American Lutheran composer, Paul Otto Manz (1919 –2009) – best known for the Advent motet “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” and his hymn festivals and organ settings of chorale tunes. After degrees from Concordia University Chicago and Northwestern, Manz received a Fulbright grant and studied with Flor Peeters in Belgium and Helmut Walcha in Germany. Manz concertized extensively and received awards too numerous to list from “Ten Most Influential Lutherans,” to “101 Most Notable Organists of the 20th Century.”

MAGNIFICAT                                                                                                   George Dyson

My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For He hath regarded: the lowliness of His handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.

For He that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is His Name.

And His mercy is on them that fear Him: throughout all generations.

He hath shewed strength with His arm:

He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the might from their seat:

And hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath sent empty away.

He remembering His mercy hath holpen His servant Israel,

As He promised our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, forever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be: world without end.


The Magnificat (Latin for “[My soul] magnifies [the Lord]) is a canticle whose text is taken from the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist.  In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, the baby moves within Elizabeth’s womb.  Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat.

Sir George Dyson was an English musician and composer who studied at the Royal College of Music and became its director in 1938. Dyson’s father was a blacksmith, but also organist and choirmaster at a local Yorkshire church, and his mother was a weaver and amateur choir singer. Dyson studied at the RCM in London, with Stanford and Parry, from whom he learned a traditional style which served him well.  He served in the army in the First World War, suffered from shell-shock but later returned to the war as a major in the newly formed Royal Air Force, organizing RAF bands. After the war he was a schoolmaster and college lecturer at Wellington College and then Winchester. In 1938 he became director of the RCM, and saw it through the Second World War. He retired in 1962 to enjoy a fruitful compositional period, and died in Winchester in 1964.

Organist from 1705 at the church of St Merry in Paris, the French composer and harpsichordist Jean-François Dandrieu, member of a musical family, was in 1721 appointed an organist of the royal chapel.

ET EXALTAVIT HUMILES                                               Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal

   From Magnificat

And the humble man rejoiced.

Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal (b. 1967) is a Spanish composer and pianist who has received numerous awards for his compositions as well as his piano performances. His Magnificat, an 11 movement work for choir, orchestra and soloists, was composed in 2016.

AVE MARIA                                                                                Giulio Caccini

This Ave Maria has long been attributed to Caccini; but according to Wikipedia, it was composed by Vladimir Vavilov around 1970.  Vavilov himself published and recorded it with the ascription “Anonymous”.  After his death it is believed that the organist, Mark Shakhin ascribed the work to Caccini.

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) was an influential early Baroque German organist and composer who studied with Sweelinck in Amsterdam.  Scheidt’s works included sacred vocal music, notably Cantiones sacrae (1620) for eight voices, and four books of Geistliche Concerten (1631–40) for two to six voices and continuo. Harald Vogel, editor of Tabulatura Nova (three parts, 1624) calls the publication of this collection of organ music “the most important collection of keyboard works to be published in Germany before the 18th century.” This Magnificat setting is meant to be in alternatim with cantor, or choir. You can hear the chant quite clearly in all the organ verses, around which are all sorts of figurations illustrating the character of the verse. The 9th tone, or tonus peregrinus “wandering tone” actually has the chant on two different pitches.

ESURIENTES                                                               Johann Sebastian Bach

   From Magnificat

He hath filled the hungry with good things;

And the rich He hath sent empty away.

The Magnificat was Bach’s (1685-1750) first major liturgical composition on a Latin text and is one of his most popular works. At the end of this charming movement with two obligato flutes is one single bass note, illustrating “empty away.”

Anne Matlack is organist-choir director at Grace Church where she directs a full program of choirs.  She holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from the University of Cincinnati.  Her organ teachers have included Charles Krigbaum (Yale) and David Mulbury (Cincinnati) as well as serving as organist/choir director at Grace Church, she is Artistic Director of Harmonium Choral Society. This series was founded by her predecessor Helen E.J. Thomas in the 1950s, and even during 2021 we did a virtual concert of women composers in her honor which can be found on the Grace Church YouTube Channel.

Patricia Ruggles, mezzo-soprano, began her choral singing in the choir stalls of Grace Church at age seven and performed her first vocal recital in the library with Helen Thomas at the piano.  She is indebted to Mrs. Thomas for her gift of musical guidance.  Ms. Ruggles has enjoyed performing as an alto soloist in many oratorios as well as performing solo vocal recitals annually in Morris County.  Please join her for “Solace for the Soul” which will be performed at Grace Church on May 20th.  Patricia has been a cantor and section leader at Corpus Christi Church in Chatham Township since 1994. 


Upcoming Friday Lenten Organ Recitals 12:15-12:45

April 1–Henry Marinovic, organ scholar

April 8–Matlack and Marinovic organ duets

Compline chanted by candlelight in the choir stalls Thursdays in Lent 8:30-8:45 p.m.


Adult Choir and Gargoyles; music by Stanford, Smith, Gjeilo

Saturday, April 2, 2022 5 p.m.

Sunday Music Musings March 19, 2022

Yesterday I played an organ recital celebrating women composers. Really, celebrating the blessing that I was able to practice organ more during the last two years and really came to love learning new repertoire as an old dog. It was all works that I bought in the last year, none of which I had performed before. You can find the program notes here and watch the recital here. Next week’s recital is Magnificats and More in honor of Annunciation Day, with Patricia Ruggles, alto (12:15 Friday).

One of the pieces, Weary Land by Emily Maxton Porter is the prelude Sunday. I was thinking about the Moses story of exiles in the wilderness and also thinking of the millions Ukrainian exiles. The work combines the spiritual “My God is a rock in a weary land” with the new testament-referencing Protestant Hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” with words by Scottish hymnodist Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane (1830-1869) and tune ST. CHRISTOPHER by Frederick Charles Maker (1844-1927) found in our Hymnal at #498.

The children will sing words to the Moses and the Burning Bush story that my husband Jabez Van Cleef and I made up for Bible School last summer. We use the wonderful American folk tune LAND OF REST, and the youngest children (Chapel Choir) have hand motions. There is something about singing I AM the great I AM and flinging your arms wide which makes even the littlest child sing out!

Now Moses and his little flock
Across the desert came,
And there they found God’s angel in
A bush of burning flame:

God said, Take off your sandals now,
You’re in a holy place!
And Moses was afraid of God,
And so he hid his face.

So then they bowed before the bush
The bush of burning flame.
God said, I AM the great I AM,
I AM the great I AM.

Our sequence hymn is another great American Folk Hymn Wondrous Love. Then the offertory is another Sacred Harp tune, DETROIT, “Do Not I Love Thee,” words by Philip Doddridge. Philip Doddridge (b. London, England, 1702; d. Lisbon, Portugal, 1751) belonged to the Non-conformist Church (not associated with the Church of England). Its members were frequently the focus of discrimination. Offered an education by a rich patron to prepare him for ordination in the Church of England, Doddridge chose instead to remain in the Non-conformist Church. For twenty years he pastored a poor parish in Northampton, where he opened an academy for training Non-conformist ministers and taught most of the subjects himself. Doddridge suffered from tuberculosis, and when Lady Huntington, one of his patrons, offered to finance a trip to Lisbon for his health, he is reputed to have said, “I can as well go to heaven from Lisbon as from Northampton.” He died in Lisbon soon after his arrival. Doddridge wrote some four hundred hymn texts, generally to accompany his sermons. These hymns were published posthumously in Hymns, Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures (1755); relatively few are still sung today. (

Henry has been working on more pieces from J.S.Bach’s Orgebüchlein, and will play Christe du Lamm Gottes, a German setting of the Agnus Dei in 3 part canon. Then the Gargoyles will sing Healey Willan’s Agnus Dei from the Mass of St. Hubert. Learn more about Willan here.

The Adult choir will sing a short Lenten “carol” Remember O Thou Man by Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1588 – 1635)  which we sometimes use as our motet at Compline on Thursdays (8:30-8:45 pm). Ravenscroft was an English musician, theorist and editor, notable as a composer of rounds and catches, and especially for compiling collections of British folk music.

Our last hymn is an “oldie-but-goodie.” I say this because the kids always take to “Rock of Ages.” The tune is TOPLADY named for the text author, Augustus Toplady (1740-1778). The tune composer is the American Thomas Hastings (1784-1872), born in Lichfield Connecticut, raised in the frontier of Colorado, who then returned to New York State.

For the postlude, Henry will play the Little Prelude in G Minor long attributed to a J.S.Bach early work (BWV 558), but now thought to be the work of a contemporary such as Krebs.

In choir practice we are working on Holy Week and Easter music, and it seems unbelievable that we have not done this live in two years!

Enjoy the lengthening days! See you in church.

Friday Lenten Recital of Women Composers, March 18, 2022

LENTEN ORGAN RECITAL March 18 2022 12:15 p.m.

A Celebration of Women Composers

Dr. Anne Matlack, organ

Order for Noonday Prayers                                 Book of Common Prayer p.103

Ego Flos Campi                                                   Caterina Assandra (1590-1618)

Domine Jesu – Berceuse                                       Jeanne Demessieux (1921 – 1968)

Petit Canon                                                          Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)

Weary Land                                                          Emily Maxton Porter (b. 1942)

Variations on Nettleton                                        Undine Smith Moore (1904 –1989)

Agora Sacred Suite: I Aurelia: The Hymn            Sharon J. Willis (b. 1949)

Kyrie cum Jubilo                                                  Roxanna Panufnik (b. 1968)

Love Song – Interlude for Organ                         Sarah Rimkus (b.1990)          

Finale from First Sonata for Organ                     Florence Price (1887-1953)

Anne Matlack is organist-choir director at Grace Church where she directs a full program of choirs.  She holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from the University of Cincinnati.  Her organ teachers have included Charles Krigbaum (Yale) and David Mulbury (Cincinnati) as well as serving as organist/choir director at Grace Church, she is Artistic Director of Harmonium Choral Society. This series was founded by her predecessor Helen E.J. Thomas in the 1950s, and even during 2021 we did a virtual concert of women composers in her honor which can be found on the Grace Church YouTube Channel.

Compline is chanted by candlelight the choir stalls Thursdays in Lent 8:45-9 pm March – April 7

Thank you for coming to this series! We have not yet resumed lunch/dessert. Masking is recommended during the performance. There may be a few hesitations as I perform without a page turner today.

Ego flos campi (I am the Flower of the Field, referring to the Song of Songs) is by a little know woman composer from the 17th century, Caterina Assandra (c. 1590-after 1618). According to editor Calvert Johnson, Assandra was one of many Italian nuns associated with convents around Milan who composed music at that time. She took her vows as a nun in 1609 at the cloister of Sant’ Agata in Lomello near Pavia. While at the cloister, Assandra studied counterpoint with Benedetto Re, or “Reggio,” one of the leading teachers at Pavia Cathedral. She published a collection of 20 motets, two of which were also used as keyboard pieces.

In 1923 French organist, pianist, composer, and pedagogue, Jeanne Marie-Madeleine Demessieux, began studies at the Paris Conservatory and was appointed titular organist at Saint-Esprit, a post she held for 29 years. She studied organ privately with Marcel Dupré for many years before she played her début recital in Paris in 1946 and launched an international career. She played more than 700 concerts in Europe and the USA. Demessieux had a prodigious memory: she had memorized more than 2,500 works, including the complete organ works of J.S. Bach, César Franck, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn and Marcel Dupré. In 1962, Jeanne Demessieux was appointed titular organist at La Madeleine in Paris. In addition, she was Professor of organ at Nancy Conservatoire (1950-1952) and the Conservatoire Royal in Liège, Belgium (1952-1968). Only one third of her catalogue, which consists of more than 30 compositions, has been published to date. This piece is from a collection of chant-based works for the liturgical year. Those familiar with Duruflé’s Requiem may recognize the chant Domine Jesu Christe.

Juliette Nadia Boulanger was an incredibly influential French music teacher and conductor. She taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century, and also performed occasionally as a pianist and organist. Boulanger was the first woman to conduct many major orchestras in America and Europe, including the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony, Hallé, and Philadelphia orchestras. She conducted several world premieres, including works by Copland and Stravinsky. In Petit Canon the use of the reed stop in the second voice helps the canon to be heard.

Emily Maxson Porter is both a painter and organist and organ composer. She writes “Over the years I have variously been a teacher, organist, composer, software engineer, and visual artist; common to all these endeavors has been a creative spirit.” Organists, her website is a treasure trove of free to use organ music. Weary Land combines the spiritual “My God is  Rock” with the Protestant hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.”

Known to some as the “Dean of Black Women Composers,” Undine Smith Moore‘s career in composition began while she was at Fisk. While her range of compositions includes works for piano and for other instrumental groups, Moore is more widely known for her choral works. Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, a 16-part oratorio on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for chorus, orchestra, solo voices and narrator was premiered at Carnegie Hall and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. This short but varied composition sets the tune commonly used for “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

Dr. Sharon J. Willis is the former Department Chair of Music at Morris Brown College and Clark Atlanta University; she holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (University of Georgia); Master’s in Church Music (Scarritt Graduate School in Nashville); a Master’s in Music (Georgia State University), and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Clark College). Willis is also the Founding Director of Americolor Opera Alliance.  She has written 16 operatic works to date that feature Afro-Centric, Social, Health, and American subjects. Sharon J. Willis is the only woman composer in the United States to have founded an opera company and been its principal composer. Willis has received commissions many commissions and awards, including two from the AGO. This is the first movement of a three movement work based on the tune for “The Church’s One Foundation,” The Agora Sacred Suite.

Roxanna Panufnik is a British composer of Polish heritage, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music. She has written a wide range of pieces including opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, chamber compositions and music for film and television, which are regularly performed all over the world. Among her most widely performed works are Westminster Mass, commissioned for Westminster Cathedral Choir on the occasion of Cardinal Hume’s 75th birthday in May 1998.bThis work sets the Kyrie that is familiar to many of us that remember Rite I service music in a clear but slightly dissonant and individual style.

Sarah Rimkus is an American composer who recently earned her PhD at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, studying with Phillip Cooke and Paul Mealor. She received her BMus in music composition from the University of Southern California in May 2013, where she developed a love of choral music while studying with Morten Lauridsen. She has written a great deal of sacred choral music, and won awards and commissions.. She was born in Washington, DC and moved to Bainbridge Island, WA in 1998, where she grew up inspired by the beautiful American west coast. This composition came about during the pandemic when her cat, Worf, was sitting on the keyboard (left hand pedal point) and she improvised above it.Florence Price (1887-1953) was born into a middle-class family in Little Rock, Arkansas. She attended New England Conservatory, one of the few conservatories to admit African-Americans at that time. She returned to Arkansas, married and began to raise a family, composing songs, short pieces and music for children. In 1927 she moved to Chicago, divorced her abusive husband and began to compose larger works as well. Price was the first black woman to have her music played by a major American orchestra when the Chicago Symphony performed her Symphony in E Minor in 1933. She sketched or finished 4 symphonies, wrote songs setting to music poems by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and became well-known for her arrangements of spirituals. Her orchestral music is Dvorak-like in that it is well-orchestrated late Romantic style claiming elements of the African-American heritage in references to jazz, spirituals, and chromaticism with a luminous quality uniquely her own. You can read more about her in my blog from August 1, 2020 (and many other better sources!)