Our postlude will be Toccatina by Roland Diggle (1885-1954), an English born church musician and concert organist who made his fame and fortune here in the United States. A name seldom seen in programs today, Dr. Diggle was quite respected as one of our nation’s premier organists. Not only did he compose over 500 works for organ, but he had acquaintances in the musical community the world over. As I mentioned earlier, during this time period, there was widespread use of linear harmony and beautiful, albeit sometimes saccharine, melodies. Of course, eventually musical tastes would change, and musicians would embrace new tonal systems (new scales, modes, 12 tone techniques, and atonality, to name a few) to invent never-before-heard styles of musical communication. This led to the alienation and general ”trashing” of composers like Diggle, Saint-Saëns, and Gounod. While some of their music is admittedly not the best, much of what they wrote is pleasing to the ear and of surprising worth. When comparing these musical styles, much depends on your point of view.
This Sunday, you will hear works by these composers that would have been popular in our parish around the turn of the last century. It is my hope that their heartfelt strains will aid our prayer this week.