The organist/conductor Suzanne McAllister will be guest director of music this week. She will be collaborating with Mark Dirksen in Sunday’s music leadership in my absence.
Music of Bach (1685-1750) will figure prominently in this Sunday’s service. The organ voluntaries before and after the service are Chorale Preludes based on hymns that Bach’s congregation would have known well. Already acknowledged as the musical genius he clearly was, the young Kapellmeister in Mühlhausen, then only twenty-two, was asked to write a cantata celebrating the inauguration of the new town council. Since church and state were closely connected in all the provincial cities of Germany, the text of such a piece was largely and naturally drawn from appropriate passages in the Bible. Cantata BWV 71 is a marvelously imagined and realized work of the brilliant youngster. Our choir will sing a movement based on one verse of Psalm 74, Du wollest dem Feinde nicht geben die Seele deiner Turteltauben (Do not deliver the soul of the dove to the wild beasts), at the offertory.
At Communion time the choir will sing an anthem by the American composer, Stephen Paulus (born 1949), titled The Road Home. It is the setting of a text by Michael Dennis Browne (born 1940), a poet and librettist, a long-time professor at the University of Minnesota, and frequent collaborator with composer Paulus. The music is based on a tune, Prospect, from a collection called Southern Harmony, which dates from 1835. Here is the text.
Tell me where is the road I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost, so long ago?
All these years I have wandered,
Oh when will I know
There’s a road that will lead me home?
After wind, after rain, when the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream in the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling
From far away, there’s a voice
I can hear that will lead me home.
Rise up, follow me, come away is the call,
With love in your heart as the only song;
There is no such beauty
As where you belong.
Rise up, follow me I will lead you home.
This week’s hymns:
401 – The God of Abraham praise
668 – I to the hills will lift mine eyes
489 – The great Creator of the worlds
637 – How firm a foundation