As the organ prelude, Paul will play Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). This quiet piece is a favorite of organists everywhere. If you listen to some of Vaughan Williams' quieter works for string orchestra and for chamber ensembles, you might hear a similarity with this piece. The title of the piece comes from the hymn tune it is based upon. The tune, Rhosymedre, is a Welsh hymn tune, and it is easy to see why it fired Vaughan Williams' imagination. For a composer heavily influenced by folk-style melodies, Rhosymedre has a lot of developmental potential. Vaughan Williams' organ arrangement of this tune, heard as Sunday's prelude, has been performed at many ceremonies in England, including the most recent royal wedding. Listen for the lilting accompaniment that sets up the melody perfectly.
Finally, Paul's postlude will be a the Trumpet Tune in E Flat by David N. Johnson (1922-1988). Nothing says "American organist" like this piece. A regal and lively solo line for a trumpet stop is married to an accompaniment filled with lush chords. Together, the feeling of this piece is jubilant and modern. Starting out as a student at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, Johnson went on to hold positions at Syracuse University, St. Olaf College, and Arizona State University, Tempe. Music in this style is modern enough to catch the attention, but not so unusual as to offend the ear of a normal listener! This is one reason why Johnson's trumpet tunes, and pieces like them, have been so widely performed in the U. S.. Listen for the Trumpet en Chamade (on the back wall of the church) at the beginning of the piece leading up to an exciting conclusion using most of the stops on the organ.
I look forward to returning to the Cathedral next week and playing for the Consecration of our fourth bishop on Saturday and his formal Seating in the Cathedral next Sunday. The Diocesan Choir, organists, musicians, staff, volunteer helpers, and committees have worked very hard preparing for this day, and I encourage you to come. It will be a day of celebration for our diocese. The Diocesan Choir will sing three anthems of great beauty, and our team of organists will provide prelude music featuring some real gems. Please keep us in your prayers as this great day approaches.