This Sunday a vocal quartet will sing two anthems during the service. The first, by Edward Elgar, is a setting of “As Torrents in Summer,” with a text by Samuel Longfellow. This song is probably the best music of a lengthy cantata entitled King Olaf (1896), largely neglected since the turn of the twentieth century. The second anthem, “Exsultate justi” by Lodovico Viadana, dates from three centuries earlier. Viadana was a pioneer in the use of figured bass, in which the accompaniment is notated in shorthand, with numbers indicating the correct harmonies. Viadana’s Cento concerti con il basso continuo (1602) was the first publication to employ the new system. Exsultate justi dates from a few years later (1605).
This week Nadine Roddy will play her Native American flute as a special musical contribution to the service. The offertory, “Song for the Water Protectors,” was written last summer by flutist Terry Bradley of Massachusetts in support of the Standing Rock Sioux as they peacefully opposed construction of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline underneath the Missouri River. Crude oil started flowing through the pipeline on June 1st of this year.
The congregation will also sing a setting of Psalm 23 by Joseph Gelineau, a Jesuit priest and professor at the Institut catholique de Paris. His psalm settings, influenced by Gregorian chant, became very popular. He also composed numerous chants for the Taizé community in France.
This week the summer pick up choir sings an anthem by Stephen Paulus, with words by Herbert Brokering. Paulus was a Minnesota-based composer best known for his operas and choral music. Brokering was a Lutheran pastor and poet, playwright, and peacemaker. Paulus died in 2014; Brokering in 2009. The organ music today consists of several settings by J. S. Bach of the chorale, Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr (All glory be to God on high). This hymn was a vernacular version of the Gloria in excelsis of the traditional Latin mass and was sung almost every week in German Lutheran churches as part of the liturgy.
This Sunday is our annual outdoor Worship in the Courtyard, and, in keeping with the informality of the occasion, John Kleinschmidt and Ken Henry will provide some old-time gospel music on guitars for the gathering and closing music, including “I’ll Fly Away,” “Amazing Grace,” and “I Saw the Light.” A vocal quartet will help lead the congregational songs as well as several anthems, including “O Living Breath of God” by John Helgen and “Come, Spirit, Come” by Walt Harrah.
This week we celebrate the time and effort that the choir dedicates to worship each week as they sing the last Sunday of the academic year. The adult choir sings two anthems, one by the English composer and Westminster favorite Andrew Carter (b. 1939) and the other based on music by Claude Goudimel (c. 1520-1572), a French composer of the late Renaissance. Goudimel is most famous for his settings of the Genevan psalter, a metrical French translation of the psalms made under the supervision of John Calvin for the use of Reformed churches in Geneva. Goudimel converted to Protestantism shortly after leaving university, and in 1572 was a victim of the St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre, in which thousands of French Protestants were murdered.