Opening Voluntary: Fantasy on the Hymn Tune NICAEA – Piet Post (1919-1979)
At the Communion: Prelude on Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 672 – J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Concluding Voluntary: Memorial Day Tribute – Traditional
Our Opening Voluntary today is a modern composition based on the Hymn tune NICAEA, (sung today as our Offertory Hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God, Almighty!” #362, The Hymnal, 1982) by contemporary Dutch composer, Piet Post (1919-1979). Piet Post studied with A. van der Horst in Amsterdam and with Hendrik Andriessen and Jan Zwart. He was the organist from 1949 to 1979 of the Jacobijnerkerk in Leeuwarden. The piece is an extended one and consists of a declamatory “Introduction and Hymn” followed by four variations and then concludes with a “Finale and Hymn.”
The piece At the Offertory is a brief chorale prelude on the German hymn, Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 672, by J. S. Bach. The German hymn is derived from a 12th century Latin original based upon the Gregorian Kyrie fons bonitatis, and is by an unknown author and composer. In format, it mimics a “troped” Kyrie from the Mass with each stanza beginning with the word “Kyrie” followed by a short vernacular verse in German and then concluding with the word “Eleison.” The three stanzas together form a Trinitarian invocation addressed to “God, Father in heaven above,” “O Christ our King,” and “O God the Holy Ghost.”
Memorial Day is a United States holiday observed every year on the final Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originally was intended to commemorate the the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service. More recently still, the custom of the decoration of graves of the war dead on this day led naturally to the practice of decoration of graves of non-war dead as well. As such, it has evolved into a day, similar to the traditional All Souls Day of the old world, in which the memories of all the departed are honored.