The organ prelude this Sunday will be the Toccata and Fugue No. 7 by Johann Ernst Eberlin (1702-1762). Usually, we categorize music into periods. Certainly we have all hear musicians talk about Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods in music. There are smaller “sub-periods” in music as well, and then there are bridge sections. Eberlin’s music fits into the bridge between Baroque and Classical styles in music. While Eberlin was a prolific composer held in high regard by such musicians as Leopold Mozart (1719-1787), he is not well known by musicians or audiences today. His crowning achievement was his appointment as both Court and Cathedral musician in Salzburg. Simply having a good job and composing volumes of music doesn’t guarantee that posterity will think highly of someone’s work, unfortunately. Eberlin was thought of as old fashioned by younger composers (such as Wolfgang Mozart, himself), and his music was simply overshadowed by such giants as Bach and Handel, Buxtehude and Telemann. To be overshadowed is perhaps the curse of being a bridge period composer. Personally, I find his music to be uplifting, compositionally sound, and fun to hear. Look for more works by Eberlin in the future.
The offertory music this Sunday will be All my hope on God is founded, a hymn by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). I’ve written about Howells before. He is one of the most important composers of Anglican church music of the 20th century, and his works may be hear all over the world with frequency. However, Sunday’s offertory is not a grand anthem or organ piece; it is a hymn. The tune name, Michael, was of interest to me. After a bit of research, I found that it refers to Howells’ son, Michael, who died at the age of 10. Apparently, Howells wrote this tune very shortly after his son’s death. To me, it is one of the best hymns of all time. Both the tune and lyrics, by Robert Seymour Bridges (1844-1930), are superb. In closing, I’d like to leave you with the magnificent text of this hymn, reprinted below.
All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew,
me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
calls my heart to be his own.
Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple fall to dust.
But God's power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.
God's great goodness aye endureth,
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendor, light and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
from his store
newborn worlds rise and adore.
Daily doth the almighty Giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.
Still from man to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ, his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.