What does this mean to us, and what does it have to do with music? You will notice that most of Sunday's music centers around agricultural themes. Our sequence hymn, All things bright and beautiful, speaks of the wonder in creation with a sense of child-like joy. The first Communion hymn, I sing the almighty power of God, speaks of God's direct influence in creation. Finally, the recessional hymn, All creatures of our God and King, paints beautiful literary pictures of "Dear mother earth" bestowing blessings of flowers and fruits - even these praise God. Sunday's choir anthem will be Jesus Christ the Apple Tree by Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987). This text references Christ as the "tree of life." This image is quite old, and I think it is perfect for Rogation Sunday. Even our chant at Communion, the Pascha nostrum, speaks of Christ being the "first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."
Sunday's prelude will be my own Prelude and Fugue in c minor. It is only recently that I've started writing in this way, and I find it to be a great discipline and mental workout. Both the prelude and the fugue are in three voices (independent parts). In the prelude, the soprano and tenor parts are in canon for much of the piece. In the fugue, listen as the subject (main melody) is played at the start, then listen for it as it comes back again and again in different places. Fugues are a lot of fun to listen to when you really focus on what is going on, but they're also quite nice even without knowledge of their mechanics. The postlude, Sonata No. 4, Allegro con brio by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), is one of the organ repertoires mainstays. Remember, Mendelssohn was responsible for the great 19th century Bach revival. Bach's way of composing have a lasting impact on Mendelssohn's own music, and you can hear that in Sunday's postlude. The first theme is florid sixteenth notes weaving a tapestry of majestic sound. The second theme appears after a while and is plodding and darker (a march, of sorts). Listen how Mendelssohn brilliantly combines these two contrasting themes toward the end!