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Saint Marks DoorsMy thanks to Matt Glandorf for the exquisite performance of Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn at the first Lessons & Carols of the Advent season at Saint Mark’s, Philadelphia.

This anthem is from Vespers, an a cappella setting of the early Reformation hymn for four, then eight, then 16 parts. The Saint Mark’s singers were spectacular, and Matt’s reading of it was brilliantly done.

Not only in my work, but in everything: Gibbons, Praetorius, Paul Manz, a Jan Sandström Lo, how a rose, and Roxanna Panufnik’s Magnificat, pieces sung from all corners of the sanctuary. They began the service with a choral improvisation for the Introit. I hadn’t heard of such a thing until a few months ago.

The choir literally improvises on the selected verse and antiphon. Steven Bradshaw soloed within a mode, and others hummed or sang words within that mode, according to a road-map from Glandorf, who sculpted the sound. It is thrilling. I know of Julian Wachner doing this at Trinity Wall Street in New York City, and wonder how many other places have attempted this?

Glandorf improvised the stunning organ postlude, and Assistant Organist Tom Sheehan played the rest of the service while Matt conducted. Richard Stone accompanied beautifully here and there on theorbo. Sheehan’s Prelude, the Dupré Le monde dans l’attente du sauveur was magnificent, as was his delivery of the hymns. Thank you, all, for a blessed evening.

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