Music of the Month: Pentecost Mosaics

This is the 11th edition in the popular Mosaics series by Jacob B. Weber. Pentecost Mosaics contains versatile and festive settings useful for Pentecost and beyond. Highlights include a suite on “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest” (Festival Introduction, Harmonization, and Organ Stanza) and six variations on “Holy Spirit, Light Divine.” Other hymns include “O Day Full of Grace”; “Come Down, O Love Divine”; “Holy Spirit, End Our Sadness”; and “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”

Pentecost: A Day, Octave, and Season

The Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost on the 50th and final day of the season of Easter. This year, that day is Sunday, May 28. On the first Day of Pentecost, the apostles were gathered together when they received the Holy Spirit in the sound of a great rushing wind from heaven and as tongues of fire rested upon each of them. They spoke in other languages so that they could preach Christ crucified and raised from the dead to all nations, inaugurating the essential work of the Christian Church Militant (see Acts 2).

The Church celebrates more than just the Day of Pentecost, though. Just as Pentecost is the culminating day of an entire 50-day season of Easter—the day of the Resurrection of Our Lord is only the first day of a joyful Eastertide—the Day of Pentecost is only the first in an octave. This means there are eight days, including and after Pentecost, that culminate in yet another feast day.

Celebrating Pentecost

The celebration of Pentecost begins, properly speaking, on the Eve of Pentecost (this year, on Saturday, May 27). As with other Church Year “Eves,” Pentecost Eve is marked by vigil and prayer in preparation for the full feast at daybreak. Similarly, the Church observes Christmas Eve before Christmas Day and the Vigil of Easter before Easter Day. These vigils are opportunities to wait, meditate, and pray on the promises our Lord delivers in the person of Jesus Christ on Christmas, the hope of the resurrection of the dead to eternal life on Easter, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

Indeed, before the apostles received the Holy Spirit on the first Day of Pentecost, they gathered with Mary and the company of disciples in prayer after they witnessed Jesus’ ascension into the heavens (see Acts 1). But even after the Day of Pentecost, the Church celebrates Pentecost Monday and Pentecost Tuesday. The eighth day of Pentecost, the first Sunday of Pentecost, completes the octave of Pentecost: The Feast of the Holy Trinity. Then, the Time of the Church begins, commonly known as the Season after Pentecost.

Pentecost Mosaics for Your Church

Weber has continued his Mosaics series of seasonal organ prelude collections with Pentecost Mosaics. As with previous editions in the series, this volume includes various hymn preludes on seasonal hymn tunes that vary in character, color, and purpose.

For example, you will find a suite on the hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest” (LSB 498) in this edition. The suite includes a festival introduction, a hymn harmonization, and an organ stanza. Organists should find these settings useful for a variety of occasions: as a festive treatment on either the Feast of Pentecost or as the Hymn of the Day on the Holy Trinity, as a crowning adornment to the hymn during a Hymn Festival, or for a pastor’s ordination or installation this summer.

A fanfare prelude on Martin Luther’s Pentecost hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord” (LSB 497) is included in this volume. This hymn is unique. The first stanza has its origin in the Vespers service for the Vigil of Pentecost (Pentecost Eve), and Luther esteemed the text so much that he added two stanzas to it and composed a melody to produce the chorale the Church still sings today. This hymn is the appointed Hymn of the Day for the Day of Pentecost.

In addition to individual preludes on “Come Down, O Love Divine” (LSB 501) and “Holy Spirit, End Our Sadness” (Paul Gerhardt’s Pentecost hymn, which appears in Christian Worship 594 to the 20th-century tune GENEVA), Weber has written an intrada and chorale on “O Day Full of Grace” (LSB 503—a Pentecost hymn with a source that is the Swedish Lutheran tradition) and six variations on the hymn “Holy Spirit, Light Divine” (LSB 496).

The six variations on the tune SONG 13 include a variety of styles: a theme, a dance, an ornamentation, an interlude that modulates the hymn from its D-major found in LSB to E-flat major, a chorale that can be used as a hymn harmonization in E-flat major, and a postlude in E-flat major. Organists should find these variations useful, especially the final three iterations of the tune to accompany the hymn if it is used as a closing hymn on any of the days during the Octave of Pentecost or throughout the Season after Pentecost.

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Written by

Nathan Grime

Nathan Grime is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a 2020 graduate of Hillsdale College, where he studied rhetoric, public address, and journalism. Nathan is the fifth and sixth grade teacher at Our Savior Lutheran School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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