The prelude will be a set of variations on the Gregorian chant, Veni creator spiritus, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). While the organ music stands alone quite well, some of our choir members will sing verses of the chant between organ variations. It creates a great effect! In fact, Duruflé himself had it performed this way. Listen to the many moods Duruflé brings out of this chant theme, and at the end, listen for his fiery evocation of the Holy Spirit sweeping down upon the Apostles and the church. Duruflé was one of the French master organists of the 20th century and composed many pieces in the sacred genre. While 20th century French organ music is off putting to some due to "spicy dissonances," Duruflé's pieces are often quite well received because of the generous helping of Romanticism, tone painting, and chant-based themes that he uses.
The offertory anthem is a setting of the same text as the processional hymn, Come down, O Love Divine. In a new setting by Daniel E. Gawthrop (b. 1949), this text takes on new life, expressing the tenderness of the Holy Spirit as Comforter. During Communion, the Handbell Choir will play a tone-poem for handbells by Tammy Waldrop (n. d.) entitled, Rushing Mighty Wind. This piece, much like the prelude, give the impression of stillness being disrupted by the "mighty wind" of Pentecost. Listen to the way to bells speed up halfway through the piece, increasing in excitement.
One special thing to be aware of on Sunday is our new Fraction Anthem, The disciples knew the Lord Jesus, S-167 in The Hymnal 1982. This will remain our Fraction Anthem throughout the Sundays after Pentecost until the season of Advent. The Fraction Anthem is an important part of our liturgy as it ties in with the Gloria and Sanctus (even the Creed, though not sung) to create part of what is known as the Ordinary - pieces done all the time. There will be a refrain printed for the congregation and verses sung by cantors or the choir. It is our hope that this new part of our service will help us all to focus more deeply on the mysteries of the Eucharist.
Finally, the service will close with a postlude by Jeanne Demessieux (1921-1968), her toccata on Veni creator. Demessieux is a somewhat tragic figure in the French organ world. She was certainly a master organist, even touring the United States giving recitals after a grueling five years of study under Marcel Dupré. However, something went wrong, and no one quite knows why. After returning from one of her American tours, Dupré would have nothing to do with her. Eventually, this led to her isolation from the rest of the French organ world. She died in 1968 of cancer, aged 47 years. Her music is very fiery and modern. You will hear the difference between her approach to Veni creator and that of Duruflé. Demessieux's vision of Pentecost seems to include a raucous dance, perhaps symbolizing the flickering of fire. Regardless of its meaning, Demessieux's postlude is full of wild, larger-than-life energy that is very much in the style of her teacher and mentor, Dupré.
Finally, I'd like to include a few lines from the Veni creator chant since it is featured in our service so prominently.
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
- trans. Bishop John Cosin, 1625