Opening Voluntary: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming – G. Winston Cassler (1906-1990)
At Communion: Pièce en mi mineur– César Franck (1822-1890)
Closing Voluntary: Hark, the Glad Sound! – C. S. Lang (1891-1971)
“Gaudete” is the traditional title of the liturgy for the 3d Sunday in Advent (also known as “Rose” Sunday). Placed at the middle of the formerly penitential liturgical season, the name derives from the introit for this day that begins with “Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always,” This Sunday, along with the mid-Sunday of lent (Laetare), was traditionally a day in which the seasonal fast might be somewhat relaxed. The music and themes of this day emphasize, therefore, the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming.
The opening voluntary is a Prelude in three sections based on the German carol, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen, (#81, The Hymnal 1982). The words of the carol date from as early as the fifteenth century and may derive from an even earlier Greek hymn by Cosmas the Melodist (d.773 or 794), a bishop and hymnographer of the eighth century. The chorale prelude was composed by G. Winston Cassler (1906-1990). Cassler studied at Oberlin College and in England under Sir Ernest Bullock. He was for many years a professor of music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
The brief selection at communion was composed by French organist, César Franck (1822-1890) and published in a group of “Sept Pièces en mi majeur et mi mineur” (Six pieces in E major and minor) in a larger volume “L’Organiste” in 1890. It was scored and registered for the French harmonium. The harmonium was an instrument invented and popularized in France in the 19th century. As keyboard instrument, it is most similar to the reed or parlor organs made in this country in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Producing sound by metal reeds, it was more stable and required less maintenance than the piano or the harpsichord. Its construction also rendered it more compact and light, making it suitable for shipping by rail. Franck, although a traditional organist of distinction, wrote a number of pieces for the harmonium
The closing voluntary is based on the tune of our offertory hymn, “Hark the glad sound!” (#72, The Hymnal 1982) to the tune RICHMOND. The text, composed by Philip Doddridge dates to the year 1735 and was subtitled “Christ’s message from Luke iv. 18.19” which is itself a quotation from Isaiah 61. The tune RICHMOND was composed by Thomas Haweis (1734-1820) and later adapted and revised by Samuel Webbe (1740-1816). The organ composition at the close of today’s service was composed by C. S. Lang (1891-1971). Lang studied with C. V. Stanford (1852-1924) and was director of music at Christ’s Hospital in Sussex from 1929-1945 after which he resigned to devote more time to composition and examination.