Music at Central

Ministry of Music

bell choirMusic ministry has been one of Central’s strengths since the moving to the present site; the outstanding acoustic in the sanctuary provides a sympathetic and beautiful setting for music ministry. Our musical instruments, the Brombaugh organ installed in 1976, and the Steinway grand piano (1986) along with sixty handbells (1985-present), have given further focus to the program through the years.

Central has four choirs: the Central Chorale — our adult fifty-voice singing choir, the Alleluia Choir for grades 5 through 9; the Children’s Choir for grades 1 through 4, and the Central Handbell Choir for high school students and adults. The musical calendar at Central each year is a busy one and includes two sacred choral masterpieces presented by the Chorale with soloists and orchestra, The Procession of Lessons and Carols for Advent, Easter and Christmas services, along with regular Sunday schedules. The Music Ministry program is headed by Dr. ElRay Stewart-Cook, our Organist/Choirmaster. Rehearsal times can be found on this month’s calendar.

Quarantine Music by El-Ray

During this time at home, our Organist/Choirmaster, El-Ray Stewart-Cook is providing musical shorts for our meditation, enjoyment, and edification. Click on each title to view the video.

The Lord’s Prayer and discussion. (10 Minutes long).  4/15/2020

Luther Chorale and Chorale Prelude by Georg Böhm (one of the teachers of Johann Sebastian Bach)

Jesus Loves Me (4 Minutes long). 4/16/2020

Jesu, Joy of Our Desiring, the tenth movement of Cantata 147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben [ Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life] by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed in 1723 for the Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, when Mary visited Elizabeth to tell her that she was pregnant with Jesus. Elizabeth shared that she too, was expecting. 

The tenth movement is scored for choir and strings, It has been arranged for almost every instrument in existence, including a wooden xylophone on a mountain side. — as a ball rolls down the hill, it strikes a long set of wooden bars going down the hill that sound the melody. Enjoy

 Aria – Flor Peeters

 Fourth Video from Central Lutheran Church’s Organ loft in Eugene, OR (5.5 Minutes long)

Aria by Flor Peeters (1903-1986) He was the Director of the Antwerp Conservatory in Belgium, and organist at Mechelen Cathedral from 1923 to his death in 1986. 

Employs the Renaissance reed stops of the Brustwerk and Great divisions (Brustwerk is the top keyboard — pipes right above my head; Great division, the middle keyboard, is the huge pipes that are visible and the 1000 pipes inside the case that are not visible. The Brombaugh has over 2800 pipes total which makes it a medium sized organ.   Short demonstration of reed pipes at the end.

If With All Your Heart, from the oratorio, Elijah,  David Gustafson, Tenor, Andrew ElRay Stewart-Cook playing the Brombaugh organ.

 David Gustafson and I are recording a CD of our favorite Sacred Songs and Arias for a project that we have been discussing for several years.  We were at the church Monday evening rehearsing the repertory after which I asked David to stay and record one of the arias, If With All Your Heart, from Mendelssohn’s beloved oratorio, Elijah from the CD.  Thank you David for sharing your talent with us.  Enjoy

Trumpet Voluntary — John Bennett (1735-84) was organist at St Dionis in the City of London (1 mile square, not the greater London area).  Discussion includes talking about English organs of the 18th century which had no pedal boards for the feet to play.  Pedal boards were added to English organs in the early 19th century. Pedal boards, such as our organ, were developed in Germany for several centuries prior to this.  The first organ in St Paul’s Cathedral in London had 2.5 keyboards (manuals) no pedals and 27 stops (organ voices with 1900 pipes for that vast space.  The Brombaugh organ built in the North German style, has 3 manuals and pedals, 38 stops, and over 2800 pipes.

Trumpet Voluntary is in two section, the first one, a slow, lyrical movement, employs the Principal pipes of the organ (like the pipes visible in the facade.  The second section features the Trumpet stop on the Great keyboard, with the echo on the Cornet in the Brustwerk above my head which is accompanied by two flute stops on the Ruckpostive manual (bottom keyboard plays the organ on the balcony rail).  The Cornet (pronounced Kor-NAY) is a French Baroque organ sound and includes the following five harmonic overtones (partials), 1st, 8th, 12th, 15th, and 17th. which reminds one of the spices and flavor of French cuisine.

 An improvisation on the hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer. Music by William Bradbury

Out of the Wood, A Cuckoo Did Fly, a Czech Carol, arr. by R. Cundick.
A short discussion and demonstration of the organ stops employed.  The delightful and charming  setting of the Czech carol follows.  
Enjoy One of my bird pieces, By Request.

Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (Savior of the Nations, Come), BWV 659, an ornamented Chorale Prelude based upon the Advent hymn, ELW #263, by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed during his tenure in Leipzig from 1723-1750.
A discussion of the Luther Advent Hymn, Savior of the Nations, Come with the hymn played on the façade pipes of the Ruckpostive  (balcony rail organ).  
Bach composed three chorale preludes based upon this hymn during his tenure in Leipzig.   I play a short section of the third chorale prelude (BWV 661) which includes the hymn tune played on the Trombone and 3 higher trumpet stops of the pedal.  I generally play this one as a Voluntary on the 3rd or 4th Sunday of Advent. (See the sixth and the eighth video for more on those organ stops in the pedal division.) Then I play the entire first one (BWV 659, (about 4 minutes long), the hauntingly beautiful, ornamented version of the Chorale. Left hand and pedal are played on the Principal sounds of the organ; the melody is played on the Ruckpostive (Balcony rail organ played on the bottom keyboard) using the German version of the French Cornet (see Sixth video description for more information.) Lots of background in this video.  Enjoy and stay well!  Bach’s Leipzig pictures will be posted on CLC Facebook page later.

O Divine Redeemer, a Sacred Song by Charles Gounod, a French composer (1818-1893). Probably best known in Sacred Music for the exquisite melody that he added to J. S. Bach’s Prelude #1 from the Well-tempered Clavier (refers to the tuning system Bach employed, a well-tempered system that could play in all keys) employing the Ave Maria text, known as the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria.  I heard O Divine Redeemer sung as a child and fell in love with it.  It continues to rate very highly on my list, and David sings it beautifully.  Video was made at the end of a long recording session that David and I did tonight with Ted Hick’s help for a CD of Sacred favorites.  Enjoy and stay safe and well.

Trumpet Minuet by Alfred Hollins (1865 – 1942). Hollins was a blind organist in Scotland who was known for his recitals that he play around the country.  It feature the Trumpet stop on the Great keyboard (middle keyboard with pipes up in the main organ; the accompaniment is played on the Ruckpostive organ (bottom keyboard on the balcony rail).  Minuet is an 18th century formal dance – think powdered wigs, elegant silk dresses and breaches, etc. and you know the type of dance – certainly not a hoedown! 

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