At the offertory, two of our sopranos will present a lovely anthem by Thomas Matthews (1915-1999), a New York born organist and composer who developed quite an illustrious career in the Anglican tradition. Matthews began studies in the English tradition under Norman Coke-Jephcott (1893-1962) and later was his assistant at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. From there, Matthews went on to serve other Episcopal churches around the country and composed over 30 anthems, selling well over one million copies. Here at Christ Church, we will offer Matthews’ I Am the Good Shepherd, a lovely work that illustrates Christ’s continuous search for the lost. The tender, high two part musical texture in the vocal parts juxtaposes against a broad and lush organ accompaniment, giving a sense of comfort and love.
During Holy Communion and celebrating “Senior Sunday”, high school senior, Janie Chow, will sing Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria. Schubert (1797-1828) originally composed the Ave Maria as a secular art song with German lyrics that, contrary to popular assumption, were not a translation of the Latin prayer. However, since its composition, the piece has become wildly successful as a sacred piece and is often sung with the traditional Latin prayer text. We are looking forward to hear Janie sing this, and we wish all of our graduates many blessings as they begin a new chapter of their lives!
Finally, you may be interested to know that the organ prelude, an Adagio by Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911), is actually one movement of a larger work, his Sonata in c minor. Guilmant, a famed Parisian organist, laid the groundwork for a distinctly French invention, the organ symphony. Because of a flowering of advanced organ technique and constructions, partially inspired by a new found appreciation of Bach’s organ works, organists sought new ways to use their blossoming virtuosity and show off the advanced capabilities of the French Romantic organ. Widor (of the famed “Widor Toccata”), Vierne (organist of Notre-Dame), and others after them composed symphonic style works indented to be played on the organ alone. These works are now considered to be the glories of the French Romantic period of organ music. Without the foundation laid by Guilmant, their beloved teacher, these masters might not have created this grand idiom of musical expression. The Adagio is a lovely piece, and I hope it aids your meditation and prayer before our service.