Not surprisingly, today’s organ music and anthem from the choir has a ‘Harvest’ theme!
We Plough the Fields “Wir Pflugen” (Joseph Prentiss)
Now thank we all our God “Nun Danket” (Lani Smith)
We gather together to ask the Lord’s Blessings “Dutch folk tune” (F. Ritter)
These three preludes are based on the Hymn Tunes associated with Harvest Hymns. They come from a complete set of Liturgical settings for the Church Organist. The first two familiar tunes feature solo reeds and a nice accompaniment. At the mid-way section we hear the hymn tunes as we are used to, before the solo and variations come back.
The third prelude is based on a lovely Dutch folk tune. The tune itself is quite reminiscent to the same lilting slow-ish Scotch Snap rhythm that the Skye Boat song has. The words are quite nice too, and are probably more associated with American Thanksgiving and have references to praise and thanksgiving for all seasons and events… such as asking a blessing on us as we gather for worship, that we should sing praises to his name, and he doesn’t forget his flock. Moving on we think about God creating and maintaining his kingdom, and that he defends it for which we praise him. This may be the physical kingdom on earth we remember at Harvest or the spiritual heavenward kingdom that we enter in Salvation.
OFFERING – Variations for Thanksgiving (Colin Curtis)
This is a lovely gentle piece for flute stops and the softer Clarinet stop. It’s in the calming triple time signature and features the tune alternating between the bass and treble. This is an arrangement of the Dutch folk tune that is set to the words ‘We gather together’. It’s not very familiar to us here in the UK but quite catchy and I’m sure you will hum along!
RECESSIONAL – Festival Postlude (Nelson)
We are today celebrating our ‘Harvest Festival’ so what way better than to finish off with a flourish? This Festival postlude has a solo reed introduction with quite a few quaver notes, followed by an almost responsive four part phrase. The middle section is a little more subdued with a new theme being introduced. Finally, we return to the joyous and uplifting flourish that we began with, taking us to a final and grand coda section for full organ.
ANTHEM – God who made the earth
This is a Korean folk melody and text arranged by John Bell for CH4. The music is gentle and lilting and has an almost Celtic air about it. Unison verses are followed by the harmonic chorus. The text reminds us a little of the bible passage for everything there is a season… moving on to spring new life and harvest cultivation being likened in parallel to the Passion, Death and Resurrection… ‘though dead and fallen, burst to life and rose up again!’
Enjoy the music! Alan Mathew, Organist.