Each Saturday and Tuesday during Lent, the devotion will consist of visual or musical works of art for you to contemplate. There might be a brief quote or statement for you to consider as you view/listen to the material; there may be notes from or about the artist or work. We hope you will find meaning in these pieces during your lenten journey.
With his rendition of Poèmes Évangélique: “Les Rameaux” (“The Palms”) by Jean Langlais (1907-1992), our own Bob Gallagher, Minister of Music, will be featured at the beginning of “With Heart and Voice” on WCVE this Sunday evening, April 13, at 10 p.m. Listen to a preview of this beautiful organ piece.
Composer Notes: The concluding piece of Poèmes évangéliques, “Les rameaux,” is subtitled “The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem”: “Jesus in all his majesty enters into Jerusalem where the enthusiastic multitude welcomes him crying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel; Hosanna in the highest!'” Langlais evokes the pageantry of Palm Sunday with a rapid eighth-note motif based on the Gregorian antiphon “hosanna filio David,” which was sung during the procession of the palms. The opening imitative motif of the introduction then continues above the pedal statement of the entire theme in augmentation.
Langlais was less confident about the worth of the “very Classical” piece: “I don’t renounce any piece. As Dupré would often say, others will do it for me…. In “Les rameaux,” the manual parts represent the enthusiasm of the people who acclaim Christ when he arrives on the day of the palms in Jerusalem. The majesty of Christ is represented by the pedal. They sing “Hosanna filii.” I disapprove of using long note values and changing the rhythm of the chant as did [Nicolas de] Grigny. Grigny made beautiful works but not in the Gregorian [chant style]. I made this same mistake…in making the simple melody, free rhythm of the chant into a chant like a Lutheran chorale…. But the work is perhaps not a mistake. The proof is that Messiaen plays it all the time.”