Monday, June 21, 2004

ARCHIVE  •  2004  •  SUN 20  •  MON 21  •  WED 23  •  FRI 25  •  SUN 27

Saint Michael & All Angels Church, 8 p.m.

Organ Recital

David York, organ
John Thiessen, trumpet

Pierre Dumage (1674-1751)
Grand Jeu

Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712)
Intermedios de Quinto Tono para la Misa de Angelis

Kyries I, II, III, IV, Final
Sanctus I, II, III
Agnus Dei I, II, III

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Was Gott tut, das ist wohl getan

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Three Chorale Preludes from Clavierübung III

Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 669
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 675
Wir glauben all an einen Gott, BWV 680

Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772)
Noël Etranger

Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656)
A Fantasy

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Trumpet Sonata in D, Z 850


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Fantasy & Fugue in G minor, BWV 542

Giuseppi Torelli (1658-1709)
Trumpet Sonata in D, G 1

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto in G Major, BWV 592
After a concerto by Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar



An organ recital invites the inclusion of compositions in many forms with “registrations” resulting from the organist’s search for colorful combinations of pipes. Occasionally registrations are suggested by composers; however, except in rare instances, primarily French, the Baroque period left those choices to the player. Tonal variety this evening results from Gabriel Arregui’s creative choices from St. Michael’s Baroque-voiced Abbott & Sieker pipes in concert with John Thiessen’s trumpet.


Pierre Dumage is little known among French composers. Organist of the collegiate church of St. Quentin from 1703 to 1710 and then the Laon Cathedral to 1719, he gave up music after a feud with the cathedral chapter and became a civil servant. His only extant work is a book of organ music from 1708 in which the last entry is this Grand Jeu, traditionally a piece for the organ’s Trompettes, Bourdons and Cornet — a rather robust registration. BACK


Juan Bautista José Josep Cabanilles was the greatest Spanish organist of the 17th century. Ordained a priest, he served as organist of the cathedral of his native Valencia. Often invited to play in various French churches, he also was in contact with contemporary musicians of southern Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. His voluminous output sometimes reflects elements of a late Renaissance Spanish style yet often seems very modern in its idiosyncratic harmonic vocabulary, heard particularly in the Sanctus II. This will be played on the celestes, reflecting a late-19th-century sound that actually had its roots in the early Italian organ’s Voce Human, in which two soft ranks are tuned slightly apart to produce an undulating effect. BACK


Pachelbel, a prolific late-17th-century composer of Protestant church music, greatly inspired later German composers, especially members of the Bach family. He held positions as organist in Erfurt, Stuttgart, Gotha and Nuremburg; and his many pupils, including his own children, attained positions of importance. Chorale-preludes, played by the organist before the congregational singing of hymns, took many forms. Pachelbel was contractually obligated to write out his preludes rather than improvising them, and the happy result is a valued collections of Middle Baroque organ music.

Here the chorale proceeds to nine “partitas” or variations on the tune, concluding with a statement of the chorale. The seventh partita, fast and arpeggiated, will be registered on 8’ and 1’ flutes, reminiscent of tiny bells heightened by the addition of the Zimbelstern. BACK


Bach titled his four volumes, published between 1731 and 1742, Clavier-Übung, a term for a book of “exercises” for the keyboard. These include his Italian Concerto, Overture in the French manner, St. Anne’s Fugue, and the Goldberg Variations — great masterpieces quite beyond our understanding of exercises, similar to Chopin’s Etudes. These chorale-preludes from Book III, based on texts appropriate for the first three movements of the Lutheran Mass (Kyrie, Gloria and Credo), treat the chorale tunes in extremely different textures: here the cantus firmus on top, there hidden within the voices. BACK


Parisian Louis-Claude Daquin, the outstanding organist of his generation, played before King Louis XIV at the age of six, directed a musical performance in the Sainte-Chapelle at age eight, and took an appointment to the church of Petit St. Antoine at age twelve. He later won the post at St. Paul (over the famous Rameau) and then succeeded Dandrieu as organiste du roi, serving also at Notre Dame. His twelve settings of Christmas carols, Noëls, have become popular standards for organists and music-lovers. BACK


Thomas Tomkins, the son of a cathedral musician, married the widow of his predecessor at Worcester Cathedral, and later was Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and organist there along with Orlando Gibbons. One of his madrigals was included by Morley in The Triumphes of Oriana (in praise of Elizabeth I). Sung at royal events, his music — anthems, madrigals, keyboard pieces and consorts (chamber works) — are decidedly conservative in style. Tomkins said that a fantasy is created when “a musician taketh a point at his pleasure, and wresteth and turneth it as he list, making either much or little of it according as shall seeme best in his own conceit.” BACK


The trumpet sonatas of Purcell and Torelli illustrate what could be done on a horn that played in the natural overtone series, valves for choosing different fundamentals to allow the production of other overtones and thus scales in lower registers being invented only in the early 19th century. Purcell wrote his only trumpet sonata in 1694, the year before he died; Torelli wrote over 30 such works, some in duet with violin and oboe. “Sonata” here is synonymous with “concerto” in form and dramatic appeal. Both works have a slow movement without the trumpet, and both indulge in intriguingly conversational melodic interplay. BACK


Bach’s large organ works were created for his own virtuosic displays, usually for his dedicatory recitals on new organs during which he showed off both the resources of the instruments and his own astounding technique. The great Fantasy in G minor (from his Cöthen period, before Leipzig) is thought to be one of his most romantically expressive works, with its stately pace and dramatic harmonic progressions; the Fugue (from his earlier days in Weimar) is youthfully joyful, even in its minor key, and demands much athleticism for the pedals. BACK


The Concerto in G major is one of many pieces Bach arranged, transcribed or borrowed in part from the works of other composers: Reincken, Erselius, Marcello, Vivaldi, Telemann, Corelli, Albinoni, and in this case, Duke Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar. We hear again the fast-slow-fast movement patterns that had become the norm, and also allusions to the concerted style with its contrasts between flashy passage work and returning themes. BACK



Notes by Burton Karson

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