Saint Michael & All Angels Church, 8 p.m.
Cherry Rhodes, organ
Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
in F, BWV 590
Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Fugue in E minor, BWV 548
Partita alla Lombarda
So long as we journey, aid our weak endeavor
XLI, Op. 28
dulci jubilo (In quiet joy)
V, Op. 18, No. 5
How Fair and how Pleasant art Thou
Ropek (b. 1922)
on Victimae Paschali Laudes
- To the Paschal Victim let Christians offer their
- The Lamb has redeemed the sheep: Christ, the
sinless one, has reconciled sinners to the Father.
- Death and life have engaged in a wondrous conflict:
the slain leader of life reigns alive!
- Tell us, Mary, what did you see on your way?
- I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ and
the glory of him rising:
- And I saw the angelic witnesses, the napkin,
and the linen clothes.
- Christ, my hope, has risen: he shall go before
his own into Galilee.
- We know that Christ has truly risen from the
dead: O thou, Victor, King, have mercy upon us.
This recital by Cherry Rhodes is made possible by
a very generous grant from Jerry and Bobbi Dauderman.
Miss Rhodes dedicates this recital with love and gratitude
to Barbara T. McClellan (1935-2005).
Toccata & Fugue in D minor, from around 1709, continues to
hold its place as one of his most popular works. Bach was a well-known
organ virtuoso and consultant who tested and dedicated new organs.
It is speculated that he demonstrated the high, middle, and low
ranges of the instruments by performing this work with its opening
bold octave gestures, echoing motives, and grand harmonic tensions.
The Fugue proceeds in a spirit of youthful vigor until interrupted
by a massive cadence, after which the mood of the Toccata returns
to bring the piece to a dramatic conclusion. BACK
where he was court organist and chamber musician from 1708-1717,
Bach had the opportunity to study Italian compositions which greatly
influenced his own style. The Italian Pastorella depicted scenes
of the Nativity and imitated the music of shepherds. Likewise, the
Pastorale in F, in four contrasting movements, is much
like a “Christmas Concerto.” Upon hearing Mendelssohn
play this work, Schumann described it as “mined from the deepest
depths in which such a composition may be found.” BACK
one of Johann
Sebastian’s solo works surpasses the virtuosic and musical
demands of the Prelude and Fugue in E minor. The most extended
of the organ preludes and fugues, this mature and profound work
has all the grandeur and vastness of ideas of the Leipzig Bach (1723-1750).
The prelude is similar to a concerto grosso, with contrasting sections
of concertino versus ripieno sections. The fugue has been nicknamed
the “Wedge” because of the shape of its subject (theme)
of ever-widening intervals that finally reach the octave span. BACK
Scarlatti, father of the famous harpsichordist and composer
Domenico Scarlatti, is principally known as a composer of opera
and chamber cantatas. He founded the Neapolitan School of opera
and also held various church positions in Rome. Toccata No. 11,
in four movements, explores the chamber-like qualities of the organ.
As is frequent in Italian Baroque music, the pedal part is subordinate
to a colorfully virtuosic manual part. BACK
has been considered by many as the J.S. Bach of the 20th century.
Inspired by Bach, Dupré wrote Fifteen Pieces for Organ founded on
Antiphons and Seventy-Nine Chorales for Organ based on the hymn
tunes that Bach used for his own Chorale Preludes for organ. Dupré
generously employs the use of the Baroque devices of fughetta, canon
sequence, stretto, inversion and augmentation while maintaining
his own harmonic flavor. So long as we journey, aid our weak
endeavor is based on Ave Maris Stella (Hail, Star of
the Sea), a Vesper hymn honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. The hymn
tune in the soprano voice is “ornamented in the style of J.S.
Bach,” according to Dupré. BACK
jubilo finds the tune in the soprano. Written in five parts,
ostinati are found in the bass and first tenor voices. The lush
celestes of the organ are heard during this beautiful and meditative
and how Pleasant art Thou (the Antiphon V, Op. 18, No. 5) employs neo-Baroque contrapuntal imitation,
somewhat reminiscent of the late-Romantic chorale-preludes of Brahms,
which also were inspired by Bach. The title, in praise of love,
is from the biblical Song of Solomon. BACK
Ropek, a native of Prague, taught at the Conservatory and
at the Academy of Dramatic Art, and in 1950, took the place of his
teacher as organist at Prague’s great Baroque church of St. Jacob.
Ropek has written many compositions for organ solo, organ with other
instruments, chamber ensembles and solo voices and chorus, and has
performed extensively on the Continent, in England and Latin America.
The brilliantly crafted Variations on Victimae Paschali Laudes,
an 11th-century plainsong sequence, was published in London in 1963
and performed by Dr. Ropek at St. Jacob’s in Prague
in 1995 especially for Dr. Karson and touring patrons of the Baroque
Music Festival, Corona del Mar. The tune, introduced in a sober,
modal harmonization, is followed by eight variations (that represent
the eight hymn verses) in which are heard canon, ostinato, diminution,
augmentation and fugue, all tools used by Baroque composers. BACK
Notes by Cherry Rhodes