Our prelude music comes to us from Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726), a composer of the Italian Baroque period. Zipoli was appointed organist of the Church of the Gesù in Rome, the mother church of the Jesuit Order, and later became a Jesuit working in the mission communities established in South America. As a musical instructor of the native Guaraní tribes, Zipoli’s musical talents were put to very striking and unique use. The story of the Jesuit missions among the Guaraní were brought into modern culture by the 1986 film, The Mission. The title of this Sunday’s prelude is Elevation because it was played during the elevation of the Eucharistic elements during Mass. No longer a common practice since the Second Vatican Council, the music composed for use during the elevation of the sacrament is now often used as we will use it this week.
Elevation pieces are normally of an intimate beauty. During communion, we will hear another of these pieces in a very different style. Marcel Dupré (1886-1971), the French organ virtuoso, composer, and pedagogue is represented on Sunday by his Elevation II from his collection of three elevations (Opus 3a). Dupré, a composer we will discuss more later, is known as the Paganini of the organ. Much of his music Is of an incredibly complex nature. However, his elevations reveal a tender, almost simple side of this great musician. During both of our elevations this week, I hope your sense of connection to Christ in the service and the sacraments will be enhanced and aided.
Finally, the choir will sing an offertory anthem by Roland E. Martin (b. 1955), a modern composer working with St. James Music Press. Martin beautifully sets the text, “Consider the lilies of the field who bloom is brief: We are as they; like them we fade away, as doth a leaf”. This piece, in a lush and gentle way, helps bring us comfort as we live our daily lives. As much as we may try to live up to ideals, we surely must have trust in God to help us become our best selves when all is said and done.
So, we celebrate the wedding banquet, the honorable and true, and the tumultuous journey through the wilderness. We celebrate Eucharist and Baptisms this Sunday. As we come from many places to join in prayer and song, the members of our music ministry hope you will leave refreshed by tender contemplation and empowered by the possibilities, joys, and strength of our life together as a people, a community.
Christopher W. Powell
Organist and Choir Master