Monday, June 19, 2006

ARCHIVE  •  2006  •  SUN 18  •  MON 19  •  WED 21  •  FRI 23  •  SUN 25

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

Organ Recital

Gabriel Arregui, organ
with John Thiessen, trumpet

Jean Adam Guilain (fl. 1702-1739)
Suite du Premier Ton

Plein Jeu
Basse de Trompette
Petit Plein Jeu

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude & Fugue in D, BWV 532

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 686

Jeremiah Clarke (1673-1707)
Suite in D for trumpet

Prelude (The Duke of Gloster’s March)
Rondeau (The Prince of Denmark’s March)


Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Sonata No. 3 in A, Op. 65

Con moto maestoso
Andante tranquillo

Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
Sonata in C for trumpet


Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)
Prelude & Fugue in G minor

This evening’s recital is in loving memory of
Ernest Spiehler (1937-2006)

Jean Adam Guilain (Freinsberg on one keyboard collection, indicating a possible German origin) wrote four suites for organ, all in seven movements that begin with a Plain Jeu and end with a Petit Plain Jeu — the French term Plein Jeu meaning all of the flue stops with mixtures but without reeds: pretty much “full organ” — loud! The French term premier ton reflects the original Latin Gregorian Chant terminology for the Dorian mode, D minor in modern tonal thinking. BACK


Bach wrote nineteen combinations of prelude and fugue (along with fugues preceded by toccatas and fantasias). The great Prelude and Fugue in D, the only one in that key, probably dates from his early years in Weimar (1708-17), when he wrote most of his great organ works and when his famous technical prowess as an organist was reaching its zenith. Such works are not categorically “church” or religious music, although they can introduce or conclude a church service. They were composed to show off Johann Sebastian’s inventiveness as a composer and brilliance as a performer, and they still challenge virtuoso organists. BACK


Bach’s “Aus tiefer Not” is a six-voice fugue based on the well-known chorale, “Out of the depths I cry to thee,” sometimes attributed to Martin Luther and still found in modern hymnals. This solemn tune served as the basis for two of Bach’s organ settings, this one including double pedal. BACK


Jeremiah Clarke’s first notice was as a boy chorister in the Chapel Royal at the time of the coronation of James II in 1685. He later served as organist of Winchester College and vicar-choral of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, where in 1704 he received the appointment of Master of the Choristers. In 1700, he and his fellow student, William Croft, were sworn as Gentlemen-extraordinary and organists of the Chapel Royal. Mentally deranged, perhaps the result of an unhappy love affair, he shot himself and was buried in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1707.

He composed cathedral services, choral anthems, odes, music for the stage and many songs and harpsichord pieces. The suite in D major contains his most recognizable work, the famous “Prince of Denmark’s March.”BACK


Mendelssohn is revered by admirers of Bach for having been the first conductor to revive the master’s “St. Matthew Passion” and other works, and then to have composed significant music for his beloved north German Lutheran Church in a sincerely flattering neo- Baroque style. A brilliant organist as well as the famous conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mendelssohn wrote six sonatas for organ in 1845, published immediately by Breitkopf & Härtel, to whom he wrote, “These are 6 sonatas in which I have sought to express my way of treating the organ and of conceiving for it.”

The sonata in A major is in only two movements. The first begins with a dignified introduction that gives way to a fugal passage which soon dissipates into a fast and virtuosic section featuring brilliant pedal work before its return to the opening theme. Considering Mendelssohn’s bent toward classical forms, the listener doesn’t anticipate the slow and melodic movement to close the piece, but such is clearly intended from the Fine that the composer wrote at its calm conclusion. BACK


Tomaso Albinoni’s melodic inventiveness impressed Bach, who made his own arrangements of some of Albinoni’s compositions. This Sonata in C begins with a Grave slow movement (a rather churchlike form) without the solo trumpet that then begins the Allegro with an exuberant theme, reflected but never repeated exactly by the strings. Another Grave gives the trumpet a rest. A fast concluding movement indulges in some tightly echoing melodic fugurations. BACK


Marcel Dupré, who was born in Rouen into a family of church musicians and died in Meudon, near Paris, studied organ first with his father and then in Paris with Alexandre Guilmant and later with Vierne and Widor at the Paris Conservatory, where he won first prizes for organ and for fugue, later winning the famous Grand Prix de Rome for his composition of the cantata “Psyche.” In 1920, he became assistant organist under Widor at St. Sulpice, the same year playing the complete organ works of Bach from memory in ten recitals at the Conservatory. In 1934, he succeeded Widor at St. Sulpice, serving there until his death. In 1921, he played 94 recitals during a transcontinental tour of 85 American cities, returning in 1923 for 110 concerts, with a 10th tour of the United States in 1948.

Although he composed large Romantic works for organ and orchestra, Dupré’s admiration for Bach is reflected in his organ solo chorale-preludes and preludes and fugues. This example, in G minor, begins with a quiet but technically difficult Prelude, its perpetual motion of triplet figures ending with three- and four-note pedal chords. The Fugue, with its rollicking gigue-like subject, begins gently but builds through a dramatic middle section, in which the fugue subject is inverted, to a stretto (imitation at shorter intervals) climax. BACK

Notes by Buron Karson


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