Music for Pentecost

This last Sunday before they take a summer break, our organ and full choir will lift our spirits and set our eyes on the Holy Spirit as they "pull out all the stops" — perhaps not quite literally (there are a lot of stops on our organ), but very nearly so.

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The Prelude and Postlude for this great feast day of Pentecost come from two composers who were associated with the magnificent gothic cathedral of Rouen. Jehan Titelouze was the organist there in the early 1600’s and was the first great organ composer of France. His Veni Creator organ hymn is a hint of what he must have improvised every Sunday. Three hundred years later, the 10-year-old Maurice Duruflé entered the boy choir of Rouen Cathedral and was inspired for the rest of his life by the grand liturgies and, above all, the Gregorian Chant. The choir will sing Viadana’s famous Exsultate Justi as an introit while incense, acolytes and clergy enter for the festal procession. At the offertory is a chorus from Bach’s Pentecost cantata. Finally we will repeat Tallis’s If ye love me at communion – which we sang a few Sundays ago since the text was in the lessons – because it was originally intended for Pentecost. This is the last service for our beloved choir until next Fall. We send them off with thanks! During summer Sundays we will be blessed with an array of wonderful soloists.

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