Sunday, September 5, 2010

Great Day for Music

It was a wonderful day for music at today’s 10:30 service! I hardly know where to start in describing it.

The hymns included “Lift high the cross” (#473) as the processional, “Praise the Lord through every nation” (#484, employing the familiar “Sleepers wake” tune harmonized by J.S. Bach) as the sequence hymn, and “Praise to the living God!” (#372, to the Hebrew melody “Leoni”) as the recessional.

The choir sang Martin How’s “Day by Day,” which was lovely, but which was outshown by solists. Mezzo soprano Kathleen Hendricks sang Adolphe Schlosser’s “He that keepeth Israel” during communion. (This seems to be a popular solo, though I know nothing—and could discover nothing—of Schlosser.) Doug Starr played the very interesting “Galeries ancien” by contemporary composer Dennis Janzer as the postlude.

Despite those lovely performances, the star musician of the day was Alexandra Thompson. Alexa played two movements from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5. Before the service, she played the Prelude, and, during communion, she played the Allemande.

I first heard Alexa play at St. Paul’s when she was about 12, and I was struck by her musicianship even them. She is now studying to become a professional cellist, and she has passed the point where I can identify any imperfections in her playing. After the Allemande, I just wanted to sit quietly and meditate on what I had heard.

Alexandra Thompson is not the first musician to grow up at St. Paul’s. Doug should be commended for providing what encouragement he has to these musicians by allowing them to play at services and concerts. Certainly, the parish has greatly benefited from their musical talents.

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