Katie and I are back from vacation this week, and we are looking forward to Sunday at Christ Church! During a fishing trip in the mountains last week, we witnessed just how quickly and unexpectedly wind and rain occurs on the water. While our "storm" was hardly more than a gentle rain, it offers a deeper connection to Sunday's Gospel imagery. The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost brings with it one of the most enduring, vivid, and dramatic of biblical accounts. Jesus calms the storm at sea, and in doing so, leaves us an image often depicted in music and visual arts. From a musical perspective, Sunday's music illustrates ideas of providence, petition, and frankly, water.
The prelude and postlude are both drawn from G. F. Handel's Water Music. Handel (1685-1759), a German by birth, is best known as an English composer. Had Bach not been so good, Handel would certainly have been known as the foremost composer of the Baroque period. While Bach wrote cantatas, organ music, and secular concert music, Handel was best known for his operas and oratorios. Water Music was composed for a summer concert on July 17, 1717 on the Thames River. Quite literally on the water, the orchestra premiered Water Music on a boat in the river! This music has been an enduring favorite with audiences and congregations ever since.
During the offertory, a soloist will present Handel's Come Unto Him from Messiah. At times, it is nice to hear quite a bit from one composer in order to absorb his/her aesthetic. As you listen to Handel's music on Sunday, listen to the elegance and tunefulness in his writing. The memorability of his melodies is certainly one reason his popularity has endured since his lifetime. The words of this piece express the consolation found in Christ amid the storms of life.
Finally, you are invited to attend my organ recital here at the cathedral this Sunday at 4:00 P. M. The program will feature some of J. S. Bach's greatest organ works. People seem to either love Bach and know much of his music, or they only know a few of his most famous works. The purpose of this recital is to explore and delve into the uniqueness inherent in this music and in organ music in general. Whether you're an aficionado or unfamiliar with Bach's organ music, you'll probably learn something new at this recital. Bach expressed his unshakeable faith through his music. Come and experience that power on Sunday afternoon. It is my hope that the music will be a spiritual experience for those who attend.