We will settle in for the service this week with a selection from Johann Kaspar Kerll’s Canzona III. Kerll (1627-1693) strongly influenced other Baroque composers such as JS Bach, Johann Pachelbel, and George Frideric Handel. The piece is minor and texturally rich -- there are fugal moments leading to sequenced passages which return to fugal texture. In the last few measures, the tension that the texture built eases with the use of suspensions leading to the final chord -- D major (a Picardy third). This bright chord brings us into the service for the Seventh Sunday of Easter and observance of Ascension Day.
Before the Gospel reading, we will sing “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The first and fifth verses are especially well suited for Ascension Day.
1. Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own;
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
5. Crown Him the Lord of heaven, enthroned in worlds above;
Crown Him the King, to whom is given, the wondrous name of Love.
Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before him fall,
Crown Him, ye kings, with many crown, for He is King of all.
George Elvey wrote the hymn tune, Diademata, in 1868. The music for the last two lines of every verse lead to stronger congregational singing which is fitting for the text.
When the service has concluded, I will play a well-known piece by Jean Joseph Mouret (1682-1738). Mouret wrote it 1729 as part of his first Suite of Symphonies. The selection -- the first movement -- is now recognizable as the theme from PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. I have played this tune in brass ensembles for various happy occasions, and I am thrilled to play it on the organ this Sunday.