On Sunday, the prelude will be the Fantasy in g minor by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). This piece really sets the tone for Lent's "last hurrah" with virtuosic passagework, punctuated by massive chords, contrasted with mysterious quieter, slower sections. It is a piece with leaning toward the dramatic or heroic. A good mental image might be a stormy sea or an immense mountain.
In contrast, the choir will sing a piece arranged by Mack Wilberg (b.1955), Saints Bound for Heaven. Wilberg, the current music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, has taken the tune for this arrangement from
The Southern Harmony and set it in a style that really lets the folk nature of the original shine but infuses it with tremendous energy. Combine this with an energetic piano accompaniment, and we have an anthem sure to put a smile on your face. Even though this Sunday is often seen as rather subdued, the lyrics to Saints Bound for Heaven carry an important message of hope and encouragement. These lyrics are printed below.
Our bondage it shall end by and by.
From Egypt's yoke set free,
Hail the glorious jubilee,
And to Canaan we'll return by and by.
Our Deliv'rer He shall come by and by.
And our sorrows have an end,
With our three-score years and ten,
And vast glory crown the day by and by.
And when to Jordan's floods we are come,
Jehovah rules the tide,
And the waters He'll divide,
And the ransom'd host shall shout, "We are come."
Then with all the happy throng we'll rejoice.
Shouting glory to our King,
Till the vaults of heaven ring,
And thro' all eternity we'll rejoice.
Finally, the organ postlude is the Fugue in d minor by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). Many people aren't aware that Mendelssohn composed for the organ. Not surprisingly, however, his pieces are heavily influenced by Bach. In fact, it was Mendelssohn who was responsible for making Bach's music popular (about one hundred years after Bach's death), and in turn, Baroque music. It was this Baroque style that highly influenced Mendelssohn's work, and this can be heard perhaps best of all in his organ pieces. The Fugue in d minor is a solemn piece that blends quite a bit of Bach influence with Romantic era tonality.