Music for last Sunday, the Sunday after the Ascension, included organ repertoire from two of the most significant, beloved—and contrasting—composers for organ: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). Sunday’s organ prelude was the final movement from Messiaen’s magnificent L’Ascension, a meditation on Christ’s ascension. The tempo marking, translated from French, indicates it should be played “extremely slow, with feeling and solemnity.” The postlude, meanwhile, was a classic from Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, played regularly during the Easter season and especially for the Ascension, featuring continuous eighth-note movement from beginning to end, including a melismatic pedal figure as a climactic final “Alleluia!”

If you missed Sunday’s service and would like to hear any of these musical pieces or James’ sermon, you can watch the service on our YouTube channel here. Also available separately is our chamber choir’s beautiful rendition of Exsultate justi, Lodovico Viadana.

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