Maybe strange to start an end-of-the-month blog with last month’s music list, but it gives an idea of what we do for the main 11 am & 6.30pm Choral services each week.
Today’s organ voluntary at the end of the service was the Toccata from ‘Toccata, Adagio & Fugue’ – J S Bach (BWV 564a) – with its’ ‘pom-pom-diddle-dee’ opening. Now, J S Bach is my favourite composer, a man of true and rare genius, the likes of which we do not see on this planet very often. But if you don’t know this majestic piece, the opening sounds like the music has just fallen off your music stand. Indeed, that was what many at St M’s thought had happened including my wife (hereinafter referred to as “Mrs M”), who very nearly ran over to the console to see what had happened!
I didn’t play the whole Toccata, Adagio & Fugue today – as I was hungry.
Often when choosing a voluntary, the effect and mood you hope to create is never always conveyed to the congregation. One morning, I chose the “Toccata” section from Messiaen’s “Dieu parmi nous”. One of our congregation was very concerned for my emotional and physical well-being, and exclaimed “Is Adrian alright?”
The main musical highlpoints for me this month were the introduction of a new anthem at St M’s – ‘Look at the world’ (Rutter) – a welcome addition to the harvest repertoire for us. Our boys’ choir were joined by a local middle school choir, our newly-formed fledgling girls’ choir and some of the children from our 9.30 service. Also this month, the singing of Walford Davies’ setting of Psalm 121 (“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills”), was beautiful (and took me back to my wedding day where it was sung as an introit).
A real challenge for me was the Magnificat by Burgon, where the organ part seems to bear no relation to what the singers are doing! It’s like 2 seperate pieces going on at the same time – well done to our Ladies’ Choir who valiantly picked up their notes from somewhere! The Nunc Dimittis was the theme music from “Tinker, Tailor, Soldies, Spy” – that shows my age!
Today, being the beginning of school half term for many, meant we had half our choir – so ‘Let thy merciful ears’ (Mudd) was a suitable anthem for the depleted forces.
I hope all our choirs and musicians have a great half term, before returning to prepare for Remembrance Day and Advent Sunday, next month.