Here’s a YouTube version of the Sinfonia I played for the prelude at the 10:30 service — this performance is by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. I think we played it faster!
Well, another Holy Week and Easter are in the books, and I can’t believe how many notes I played over the last few days! Miguel Felipe joked that I would not get paid any extra for all the notes I played, and even Jean Lilley (Pastor Jeff’s wife) said she took a picture of my music on the organ rack (almost pure black with so many sixteenth notes!)
After I played Bach’s “O Lamm Gottes unschuldig,” the hymn “Love divine” (Hyfrydol) and Peter Hallock’s “Gloria in excelsis” I dutifully closed up and locked the organ on Maundy Thursday.
The next night was Good Friday in which the entire service was sung a cappella. This year’s service was identical to last year’s (see my post “A moving Good Friday”) except that the narrator for the Passion was Renson Madarang (who, I heard, sang the chants beautifully and sensitively) and the final motet was Paul Crabtree’s Judas mercator pessimus/The Wicked Messenger from the Tenebrae Responsories on Songs by Bob Dylan. I played hooky and went to the Hawai’i Symphony concert (where I saw another organist who didn’t have to play Good Friday either!)
On Saturday after I taught an organ lesson, we had a dress rehearsal with orchestra for Easter Day. We rehearsed the four hymns, the Sequence (Leisring, O filii et filiae), Bach’s Motet No. 1 Singet dem Herrn, and the Sinfonia from Cantata 35, Geist und Seele wird verwirret. Someone asked me after the Easter service, “Was that an organ concerto?” You betcha!
That night, the choir met at 6 pm for a rehearsal, and I rehearsed the two anthems with them: Ye choirs of new Jerusalem by Stanford and This joyful Eastertide (Dutch carol arranged by Philip Ledger). The service began at 7:30 pm with the kindling of new fire in the courtyard. The congregation enters the dark nave led by the Paschal candle (“The light of Christ. Thanks be to God.) After hearing seven lessons, having a baptism, singing the Litany of the Saints, and a Kyrie by Hans Leo Hassler (Missa secundum) I finally got my big moment after the Easter Proclamation: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! and I launched into Bach’s “Komm, heiliger Geist” after Pastor Jeff says “Glory be to God on high!”
At this point in the service, I step on the Zimbelstern, hit a piston and away I go. Everyone in the choir rings handbells, and members of the congregation are invited to bring bells to ring also. This year, I also heard noisemakers as part of the raucous cacophony which ensues. At the close of the service, I played Bach’s “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn,” again using the zimbelstern. I didn’t get home until 10 pm, but then stayed up past midnight to clean the house for our Easter brunch the next day. (We have been in the middle of a condo renovation ever since January 15th and in the morning, the place absolutely looked like a tornado hit it! A miraculous transformation had to happen!)
The next morning I got up at 6 am to iron the tablecloths and set the table before heading off to church for a 7 am rehearsal with Allen Bauchle. For the 8 am service, he and I played the Sinfonia in D major (G8) for trumpet and organ by Giuseppe Torelli for the prelude. Let me give you the names of the movements to give you an idea of how many notes were flying by: Allegro • Adagio • Allegro • Allegro. The postlude was the last movement from the Sinfonia in D major (G9) also by Torelli and was again marked Allegro.
At the 10:30 am service, we split Bach’s motet, Singet dem Herrn, into three parts. Part I was sung at the offertory, Part II was at the communion, and Part III was sung as the postlude.
Here’s a YouTube performance of the Vocalconsort Berlin to give you an idea of this joyous (and virtuosic) piece.