Nick Bowden plays Thou Art The Rock by Henri Mulet at the former Crystal Cathedral (now Christ Cathedral) – “Hour of Power” broadcast 6 April 2013, Hazel Wright organ. Mulet “Tu Es Petra” (Thou Art the Rock) Toccata
About the Piece
This piece was written to represent the battle between good and evil. The manuals (keyboards) are representing good, with the pedals representing the devil and his power. As the song nears the climax the we discover that good will always triumph over evil as the manuals and pedals come together to make a glorious sound.
Tu Es Petra, or Thou Art The Rock, comes from The “Esquisses Byzantines”, a ten-movement suite published in 1920 by Alphonse Leduc, is Mulet’s most famous composition for organ. Written over a period of at least ten years, the “Byzantine Sketches” were dedicated “in memory of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Montmartre, 1914-1919.” The tenth movement, the toccata, is thought to refer to the smaller, medieval church of Saint Pierre-de-Montmartre, an institution which had been consecrated over 700 years before the creation of the basilica. More specifically, the words “Tu es petra” refer to the biblical reference in Matthew 16:18, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The ominous tonalities of the piece, the frequent use of the minor third, the development of contrasting motifs, and the brilliant finale in the parallel major key all suggest a spiritual battle in which good does indeed triumph.