Our second person of note this week is Cesar Franck (1822-1890). An organist and composer from 19th century France, Franck was partially responsible for the "turn around" of what was then a very poor state of church music in his country. By and large, organists in mid 19th century France did not possess a true organ technique. For example, very few organists actually played the pedals to any degree and often played secular music during church services. Rather than providing spiritually centered music, many organists sought only to entertain their congregations. Franck, a very devout man in his personal life, was a very sincere musician as well. Rather than seeking to dazzle his listeners with "storm improvisations" and operatic marches, Franck composed and improvised well crafted music in a largely forgotten traditional style. Franck is generally credited as the forerunner of the glorious French organ school that began in the Romantic period and still continues today, including such names as Widor, Vierne, Dupre, Langlais, Alain, and Messiaen. This Sunday, we will hear Franck's music during the Offertory.
So, as you come to our beautiful Cathedral this Sunday, listen to the music and read the lyrics so beautifully written by two people who deeply cared for spiritual realities. Sing the words of Sir Robert Grant and pray with the music of Cesar Franck, both of them were reformers in their times, and both of them still speak to us today through their artistic legacies.
Christopher W. Powell
Organist and Choir Master