Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Painting a Musical Portrait of the Ascension

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In this week’s Sounds of Faith episode hear how two of the Chapel’s organs combine with the Evensong Singers choir to paint a musical portrait of Christ’s ascension in Patrick Gowers’ anthem “Viri Galilaei.” Chapel Organist Christopher Jacobson, FRCO, explains how the piece, sung in a Choral Evensong service in the spring of 2018, uses music to articulate theology.

“Ending in ethereal swirls of notes high in the organ’s register, Gowers shows these last cloudy wisps of heaven receiving Christ out of our earthly sight,” Jacobson says. “In this way Christ’s ascension is both mysterious and triumphant, perplexing and inexorably glorious, and a magnificent summation of Easter joy.”

The organists are two Chapel Organ Scholars at the time of the service—Joseph Fala and Jacob Montgomery—who play, respectively, the Kathleen Upton Byrns McClendon Organ (Aeolian, 1932) and Benjamin N. Duke Memorial Organ (Flentrop, 1976). Jacobson conducts the choir and organs.

Watch the anthem sung in its entirety.

Watch more Sounds of Faith videos.