MusicNotes Nov 5-6


October 29-30, 2011

Prelude-         Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 645)        Johann Sebastian Bach           (1685-1750)

This well-loved chorale prelude comes from Bach's Cantata No. 140, of the same title. Both are based on the tune of the opening hymn, Wake, O Wake, often known as Sleepers Wake. The texture of the piece is simple. The chorale melody is broken into short phrases that are complemented by a beautiful countermelody and simple bass line in the pedals. This prelude is meant to prepare us for this particular Mass. Our ears are introduced to this gorgeous hymn of preparation and readiness before we all sing it together.

Opening Hymn-         Wake, O Wake, and Sleep No Longer


The opening hymn, written by Philipp Nicolai, came from the Lutheran tradition, first published in 1599. It is now used in church by many denominations and is best-known for J.S. Bach's setting in his Cantata No. 140. The hymn text is taken entirely from the parable of the ten bridesmaids, the Gospel for this weekend. It calls us to sleep no more, to be ready for the quickly-approaching midnight hour. What better way to "wake up" than to hear Jesus' words of readiness echoed in this opening song.

Choral Anthem-        Keep Your Lamps!                 Traditional Spiritual, arr. André Thomas (b.1939)           

Also coming directly from the passage from Matthew, the great African-American spiritual, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning, was arranged by composer and conductor, André Thomas. One of today's leading spiritual composers and arrangers, Thomas has also remained as one of the most respected living authorities in spirituals, as well as a highly-demanded clinician across the country. In addition to this spiritual's reflection of the Gospel, the historical context of slavery adds another level of meaning to the words. Thomas writes this about the historical context of this spiritual-

"As with many of the slave songs, this song's impetus came from hearing a sermon based upon a parable found in the book of Matthew... one can only imagine the song stirring from the soul of one slave listener. Jesus was indeed a deliverer and a hope for the slave. One can only speculate that this song was sung often, when there was a possibility of deliverance." (April, 2003)  

Closing Hymn-                      Soon and Very Soon

This song of hope and expectation was written by songwriter, producer, and pastor, Andraé Crouch. This is one of his most well-known songs and it was even performed at the memorial service for Michael Jackson, a close friend of Crouch. The text, which corresponds with the Epistle and Gospel readings, is simple and follows the form of a traditional Gospel song. I will play it in a traditional Gospel piano style to bring out this texture.

Will Buthod
Director of Music
Church of St. Mary
(918) 749 2561, ext 120
1347 E. 49th Pl.
Tulsa, OK 74105

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