Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mendelssohn Progressive Recital

The Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Guild of Organists presented a Progressive Recital featuring the music of Felix Mendelssohn last night. Chapter members played Mendelssohn's organ music, and the program was divided between two downtown Chapel Hill churches.

We started at University Presbyterian Church on Franklin Street. They have a beautiful 3-manual, 50-rank Sipe organ. Here is the music that was performed there:

  • Organ Sonata No 4 in B-Flat Major, Op 65 (David Durkop)
    • Allegro con brio
    • Andante religioso
    • Allegretto
    • Allegro maestoso
  • Praeludium in G-Major, Op 37 (Lyn Francisco)
  • Organ Sonata No 5 in D-Major, Op 65 (Mark Gorman)
    • Andante
    • Andante con moto
    • Allegro

We then moved across the street to University United Methodist Church for the second half of the program. A three-manual, 50-rank Möller lives there but is unique because of the split nature: 2/3 of the organ is up in the Gallery while 1/3 of the organ is up in the chancel, giving it a "surround sound" type of effect if stops from both organs are pulled at the same time. It is the organ on which I learnt how to play as my organ teacher, Tim Baker, is the Director of Music there.

Here is the rest of the program:

  • Organ Sonata No 6 in d-minor, Op 65 (Tim Baker)
    • Chorale and Variations: Andante sostenuto
    • Allegro molto
    • Fuga
    • Finale: Andante
  • Hear ye, Israel; hear what the Lord speaketh from Elijah (Summer Kinard, soprano; Lyn Francisco, organ)
  • Organ Sonata No 2 in c-minor, Op 65 (Daniel Steinert)
    • Grave-Adagio
    • Allegro maestoso e vivace
    • Fuga: Allegro moderato

It was fun to participate in this recital, but oh my, the nerves! I was very underconfident in accompanying my friend for the Elijah piece, but we somehow survived it. I'll keep working on it because we're going to record that piece, amongst others.

I was chuffed at the attendance. We had no idea what to expect as far as numbers were concerned, so I printed 70 programs. We ran out. I guess having it written up in the local media helps. Plus, people said they came because they loved the music of Mendelssohn. Speaking of which - 3rd February will be the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth, so I am sure we'll be hearing a lot of his music by organists in the coming year. I am working on Sonata No 2, so this should be a motivation for me to keep working on it. It's not easy, and the second movement (Adagio) has me tied up in knots. The hands cross over on the manuals, and I had found it physically challenging to play.

I had learnt the Praeludium specifically for this recital; now I am happy to be able to add it to my repertoire, and I'll be playing it as prelude music for this Sunday's service at St Joseph's. I might dig up some of Mendelssohn's piano music for prelude/postlude music for the Episcopal Centre at Duke ...

No comments: