Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter service in Arlington introduces a "Church Sonata", by Brian Joyce

Today, the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA opened the main Easter service with a “Sonata da Chiesa #3” (“Church Sonata”) by Brian Joyce (England, I think) for Organ and brass ensemble.  (The title is "Sonata", not "Sinfonia".)   To my ear, it sounded like the key was E-flat.  The first movement is slow (“Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bonds”), then the second is agitated after an abrupt key shift (tritone?) “Earth Has Dawned this Day of Days” with heavy pedal use, followed by two more hymn tunes, “Awake , My Heart, with Gladness” and “Good Christians Rejoice and Sing”. The original titles are in German.  The music is festive and somewhat modal and reminds one of Vaughn Williams.  The organist was Carol Feather Martin.  Joyce's Sonata #1 seems a little better known (from Internet searches) than #3.
I was unable to find the composer on YouTube.  Sheet music for the work (Cimarron) can be purchased for $35 here .
There was an anthem “Easter Day” by Gerald Manley Hopkins, and another anthem “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”.  The familiar tune for “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” from Lyra Davidca was harmonized in a original way with modulations and dissonance.  The music from “Thine Is the Glory” comes from the oratorio “Joshua” by Handel.

Curiously, Mt. Olivet Methodist Church, very near Trinity geographically has a YouTube recording of the Handel.  Mt. Olivet is known for its monthly community assistance program.

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