Music in the summer is especially sweet. Our single Sunday morning liturgy blends the widest range of our worship music repertoire. Even though summer is a time to plan next year’s Friends of Music Guild Concert Series, we still have an occasional summer concert. Here are some special music Sundays and forthcoming summer concerts, workshops and recitals.
Fanny Crosby hymns on Sunday July 8. Four hymns of this great American Gospel Music writer will be sung in liturgy. All of them are drawn from “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, the African America Gospel hymnal of the Episcopal Church. In our modern era of “positive message and praise” hymnody, Crosbyesque messages of comfort through despair may seem odd. Compare the glowing ethos of a 2018 hymn text by composer David Ashley White, “If you have but one prayer to pray, let it be ‘Thank you Lord’…Salvation is assured.” to Fanny Crosby’s mournful plea, “Pass me not o gentle Savior, hear my humble cry! While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” White’s theology is perfect; Crosby’s is flawed but hearts are perhaps more moved by a Pathos-laden Crosby hymn than perfection of Ethos and Logos in contemporary hymns.
On Sunday afternoon July 15 at 4:00 pm at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland I will perform an organ recital entitled “Teachers and Students.” I will play music by five sets of composers, first the teacher and then the student: J.S Bach vs. J.C Bach, C. V. Stanford vs. Herbert Howells, Duke Ellington vs. Billy Strayhorn, Horatio Parker vs. Charles Ives, and Wilbur Held vs. Me. It will examine the transmission of the teacher’s DNA of aesthetic choices, but not always. Teachers commonly transmit what experience has taught them and their students choose to accept or reject and plot their own course. Some obviously speak the same musical language but perhaps in different accents and at different paces where meanings are congruent or disparate. Some are defined by their era and some in spite of it. All are welcome to attend.
In July we offer our summer music jazz camp at St. Paul’s. Lee Robinson leads his Performance Jazz Camp (PJC) 2018 from Monday July 16 through Friday July 20 from 9 am - 3 pm. *PJC closing performance is on Tuesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. PJC encourages individual students and pre-camp duos, trios, quartets or contemporary music ensemble to registrar. Please call Pattie O’Donnell about the Performance Jazz Camp and how to register. Call (412)-915-1437. The closing performance/concert is open to all.
Wesley brothers hymn on Sunday July 29. John and Charles Wesley, 18th c. British theologians and hymnists, together wrote over 6,000 hymns! It was not their intention to cause a separation from the Anglican Church but their evangelical focus and “Methodist Societies” led to the formation of the Protestant Methodist Church soon after their deaths. We are familiar with their hymns in the 1982 hymnal. Twenty are of Charles Wesley; e.g. "Christ, whose glory fills the skies" (Hymns 6-7); "Lo! He comes, with clouds descending" (Hymns 57-58); "Come, thou long expected Jesus" (Hymn 66); "Hark! the herald angels sing" (Hymn 87); "Love's redeeming work is done" (Hymn 188-189); "Jesus Christ is risen today" (Hymn 207); "Hail the day that sees him rise" (Hymn 214); "Rejoice, the Lord is King!" (Hymn 481); "O for a thousand tongues" (Hymn 493); "Let saints on earth in concert sing" (Hymn 526); "Ye servants of God" (Hymn 535); "Come, O thou Traveler unknown" (Hymn 638-639); and "Love divine, all loves excelling" (Hymn 657). One hymn is of John Wesley; “I’ll praise my maker while I have breath” (Hymn 429- a theological alteration of an Isaac Watts text.) Charles John are both commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Mar. 3.