The organ prelude this week is the Cantabile from Symphonie No. 6 by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937). Often, we think of Widor as the composer of fiery and dashing works like his famous Toccata from Symphonie No. 5. However, like the rest of us, Widor had a softer side. In fact, most of his opus is comprised of stunning gentler works. The word "cantabile" literally means "in a smooth or singing style". As I play this piece, I like to imagine the parishioners of Ste-Sulpice church (where Widor was organist) in Paris filing in and taking their seats on a beautiful 19th century Sunday morning. Perhaps they have quite a bit in common with our 19th century Mobilian forebears who attended Christ Church.
The choir will offer a newly composed anthem during the offertory this week. Penned by yours truly, this work ties in nicely with our readings. The next is as follows: All my heart doth long for Thee, O God of my dreaming, God of my heart. This piece strives to express the longing of the Israelites, our own longing, and the longing of all creation for the Divine, for God.
Last but not least, our second communion hymn, What wondrous love is this, comes to us from The Southern Harmony of 1835. A beloved hymn of Christendom, it had quite humble and straightforward beginnings. The Southern Harmony, like the Sacred Harp, had its beginnings in the colonial music of the United States. Both were known as "shape note hymnals", a type of hymnal in which the notes have different shapes to help identify different notes in major and minor scales. Compiled by William "Singin' Billy" Walker (1809-1875), The Southern Harmony preserves many early American hymns that are an important part of our heritage. What wondrous love is this presents us with beautiful ideas upon which to reflect during our communion, and it features a simple, singable folk melody that speaks with humble grandeur through the waves of time.
So, with high expectations for a beautiful service, I invite all of you to come and fulfill your need for God, Scripture, Communion, and beauty this Sunday. Our service will be filled with sincere and straightforward musical works chosen to elevate your hearts and spirits in prayer.