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Spiritual Music for March 17th

posted Mar 14, 2013, 8:53 AM by Amelia Fannin   [ updated Mar 14, 2013, 8:53 AM by in apropos ]
Both the prelude and the offertory anthem on March 17 are based on Psalm 137, one of the psalms of lament. While Johann Sebastian Bach, the composer of the prelude, is a name familiar to most of us in the Western world, Orlando di Lasso (aka Orlande de Lassus, Roland de Lassus, and Rolande Delattre) is likely not as household a name. Orlando di Lasso composed Sunday’s offertory anthem, and, like J.S. Bach, was one of the most noted European composers of his day (late 16th century for Lassus, and early 18th century for Bach). Each composer musically paints images of the “waters” of Babylon with flowing melodic figures. At the end of the prelude, Bach uses a descending line to indicate the tears falling as the Israelites wept when they remembered Zion from far-off Babylon. Lassus cleverly works with the line “we sat down and wept” by using repeated notes on the word “stetit” (to sit) followed by several moving notes to depict the tears. So, on Sunday we will hear how two prolific and highly regarded composers, from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, musically interpret Psalm 137. I hope each piece speaks to you spiritually as you listen and experience the works of these great composers.

Jeffrey Mills