Sunday’s offertory anthem is actually the final movement of the St. Matthew Passion by J. S. Bach (1685-1750), In Tears of Grief. Listen to the way the vocal and instrumental parts illustrate crying and the falling of tears in the first section. The bass line is especially poignant with its ascending and descending figures. On Sunday, we will have the pleasure of welcoming Enen Yu and Gosia Leska, violinists, and Guo-Sheng Huang, violoncellist, to perform with us on this and several other pieces. The second section of the Bach turns from the minor tonality of the first toward a lower, major tonality. While the “tears motif” is still present, it now takes on the character of a lullaby, emphasizing the last words of the text, “softly rest.” In short, it is, at once, an epitaph for Christ and a lullaby for the sleep of death. This is Bach at his best.
During Communion, Aaron Adams and Katie Powell will sing Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s setting of Pie Jesu. This piece is a favorite of people everywhere, and for good reason! Webber sets the text beautifully and lovingly. We are very pleased to welcome Aaron Adams, our treble soloist (boy soprano), to the cathedral once again. He is a fifth grade student of Katie at Molino Park Elementary School and was a great addition to our Christmas Eve service this year and to the Consecration of our fourth bishop.
Finally, our service will end with the stripping of the altar. During this most solemn time, the recitation or singing of the 22nd Psalm is prescribed. Last year, we did my own setting that mixes selected verses of the psalm with the seven last “words” of Christ. This year, we will do the same, but I have reset the words of Christ to be scored for soprano and string trio. I hope this piece will speak to you during this holy moment on Sunday. We will depart in silence on Sunday, ready to move into Holy Week, but we will return on Easter Sunday with songs of ultimate joy in the Resurrection. Don’t miss out on this week-long journey with Christ.