I first registered this piece for my concert at the Cathedral last March. The concert was played from the sanctuary console so that I could be visible to the audience. Up until this week, I had no easy way to transfer the pistons from one console to another. Here’s my first performance of the Howells from the rear console. Check back later for a demonstration of how I moved two levels of memory in less than 10 minutes.
Everyone has heard the expression that to sing is to pray twice. Music provides an additional dimension to our prayers that can add meanings beyond what the words alone can say. Instrumental music therefore can express thoughts and feelings that we may not have found the words to express.
The pipe organ with its variety of musical colors (especially the large instrument here at the Cathedral) has the capacity to convey a wide range of emotions. The US bishops make this clear in Sing to the Lord:
Among all other instruments which are suitable for divine worship, the organ is “accorded pride of place” because of its capacity to sustain the singing of a large gathered assembly, due to both its size and its ability to give “resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation.” Likewise, “the manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.” (STL, #87)
While we rejoice the triumph of Jesus Christ over death, there are many stories of pain and suffering also in the Bible: the slavery of the Israelites, the trials of Job, and even the crucifixion of our Lord. The concert this afternoon will explore how different composers have chosen to paint in music these songs of lament. Beginning with settings of Psalm 130 (Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord), continuing through the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and concluding with the death of Jesus on the cross, the program offers a wide palette of musical styles and emotions that I hope will bring you not into the depths of despair but into a deeper relationship with God. If you are able to be here, please come.
More information about the event including a complete program listing may be found here.