Monday, June 21, 2010

ARCHIVE  •  2010  •  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

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, BuxWV 140

Three Chorale Preludes on Herzlich tut mich verlangen

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
BWV 727

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Op. 122, No. 10

Giovanni Viviani (1638-1692)
Trumpet Sonata Prima


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582


Two settings of B-A-C-H

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
No. 3 from Six Fugues on B-A-C-H, Op. 60

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Fugue on B-A-C-H, H 373

Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736)
Sonata per Organo

Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
Trumpet Sonata in C


César Franck (1822-1890)
Prelude, Fugue and Variation, Op. 18

Henri Mulet (1878-1967)


David York’s recital offers us Baroque organ masterworks, extended to concerted pieces with John Thiessen’s valveless Baroque trumpet, then to Romantic literature based on 18th-century precedents.


Buxtehude was a Danish-German who eventually settled in the Hanseatic League city of Lübeck as organist at the Marienkirche. J. S. Bach actually walked approximately 50 miles in 1705 from Arnstadt for a three-month visit in Lübeck to learn from him there, and he was visited also by Handel (then interested in succeeding to Buxtehude’s position, but unwilling to marry the old man’s daughter, already about 30, as a stipulated part of the agreement!). Buxtehude’s influence on late-Baroque North German music, especially Bach’s, is extraordinary.

This Prelude and Fugue clearly reflects the composer’s brilliant foot technique, surely inspired by the massive pedal division of the Marienkirche’s famous pipe organ. BACK


Buxtehude, Bach, Brahms and many others have set the well-known chorale Herzlich tut mich verlangen (“My heart is filled with longing”), the Passion Chorale prominent in modern hymnals. Its introspective nature is reflected in these three treatments, most obviously in the Brahms, where the chorale tune is heard in the pedals under highly emotional and constantly flowing stream-like harmonies. BACK


Viviani’s name and fairly slender compositional output are obscure, but the career of this 17th century Florentine took him to Innsbruck, Austria as director of the Hapsburgs’ court music there, then to Venice for opera, and to Rome where even Corelli participated in one of his oratorios. Elevated to nobility, he continued writing operas in Naples before becoming maestro di cappella at Pistoia Cathedral. Both of his trumpet sonatas are heard in this season’s Festival, the other on Friday in the Gardens. BACK


Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor ranks as one of the monuments of Baroque organ literature, immediately recognizable for its grandeur and inventiveness. The passacaglia form originated in 17th-century Spain as a kind of ritornello for song forms, played on the guitar. It became a series of variations over a constant harmonic pattern in 18th-century Italy and Germany, usually with a repeated melodic phrase, making it similar to and even confused with the chaconne, which emerged originally from a dance.

Bach’s masterpiece begins with an unaccompanied pedal theme that is reflected throughout the tightly connected variations that Robert Schumann described as being “intertwined so ingeniously that one can never cease to be amazed.” BACK


Schumann adored the music of Bach, and, like his friend Brahms, acknowledged that inspiration in some of his own compositions, most obviously in six fugues on the name of Bach as termed in German — the pitches B flat, A, C, and B natural. Johann Sebastian set his own tuneful surname, as did his famous composer son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and many others, later including Franz Liszt. BACK


Giovanni Pergolesi was born 300 years ago, suggesting notice in this recital and also in Friday’s Music in the Gardens II for a repeat performance of Stravinsky’s attractive neo-Baroque Suite Italienne, based on themes by Pergolesi as arranged by Piatigorsky. This sonata, apparently Pergolesi’s only work for organ or even for solo keyboard, hints at pre-Classical characteristics in its simple texture and light melody over slow harmonic progressions. BACK


A lbinoni attained great fame during his lifetime, in his native Venice and throughout much of Europe. He supported his operatic soprano wife and their six children through a prolific output: 80 operas, 40 solo cantatas, 79 sonatas for various instruments for church and chamber, 59 concertos, and more. His publications were well known to Bach, who copied and used his music for teaching materials.

The key of C in this sonata is uncommon, most trumpet music of the period being in D. The slow-fast-slow-fast arrangement of movements, normally found in church sonatas, has the trumpet resting as usual in the slow movements, even the first, before it has uttered a sound. The fast movements are in modified ritornello form. BACK


C ésar Franck, born in Liège, Belgium, moved at age 13 to Paris with his parents, and attended the Paris Conservatory, where he studied piano, organ and theory, and won prizes in organ and counterpoint. He later taught at the Paris Conservatory, his pupils including Chausson, Duparc and Vierne, and he held the organist post at the famous Ste. Clotilde until his death. Franck’s operas and oratorios are little known, although we often hear his Variations Symphoniques for piano and orchestra, and his Symphony in D minor.

His adoration of Bach is apparent in the forms of this Prelude, Fugue and Variation, and perhaps even in his late-Romantic chromaticism. BACK


H enri Mulet as a boy played for services at Paris’s Sacré-Coeur under his choirmaster father. At the Paris Conservatory, he studied cello and harmony and, under Guilmant and Widor, won a prize in organ playing. His compositional output is little known, but this Carillon-Sortie is a favorite of modern organists and proves immediately attractive to audiences. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson



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