excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 69-70 (484 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 69-70 (484 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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At half-past 11, A.M., the second service was held in the same church, i.e. about half an hour after the conclusion of the first. It had been previously advertised that at this hour there would be preaching by a divinity student. I attended; the service had already commenced, although there were only three persons in the house. These three were the organist, the singer, and one other person who was in the organ-loft (where I ventured to go), and who seemed to be also a looker-on. The organ was playing with some sixteen or eighteen stops out, and the singer was singing a chorale by himself (in unison!) without a single person to hear or to be edified by the psalm. I was the fourth person. Soon, however, two or three others came in, and as the last stanza was drawing to a close, the minister entered the pulpit from a vestry door. By the time he began his sermon, which was as soon as the singing closed, the congregation numbered in all, including the organist, the singer, the minister and the sexton (who made his appearance when the minister came in), I believe, just twelve persons, six of whom were seated in the body of the house near the pulpit, and appeared to have come for the purpose of attending the service. A short prayer was read before the preaching. The sermon occupied about forty minutes, during which time several persons came in and others went away, so that from the beginning to the end of the exercises, from eighteen to twenty people may have been for a part of the time present. The preacher did not seem to be in the least disconcerted from the fact that he was almost without hearers, but went on as though the house had been quite full. The sexton seemed to enjoy it much, as he had nothing to do, and the singer and the organist, too, seemed to have no particular anxiety as to the effect of the psalmody. The moment the sermon was ended, the minister, preceded by the sexton, retired, and then, after they were out, came the concluding song, which was a grand chorale, performed vocally by the singer (in unison!) and instrumentally by the organist, on sixteen or eighteen stops of his organ. I suppose, too, that the six or seven persons below joined in the song, but they did not add so much to the power of the chorus as to enable me to say with certainty whether the singing was by the congregation, or by the choir only.

This account of the second service will appear so strange, that I fear some of your readers may doubt whether the writer is in earnest. I can assure them that it is strictly correct, and that the service, and the whole of it, has been described just as it occurred.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 69-70 (484 words)


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