A word about organ music in church- Nicknamed “The King of Instruments,” by its name the pipe organ is the best instrument to deliver music of praise to the King of Heaven. What makes the organ “kingly?” I believe that its range of color and dynamics are factors but even more so its highly regarded place in the repertoire of the master who abundantly composed for organ, Johann Sebastian Bach! Today’s prelude and postlude shine a light onto his genius.
The prelude, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, is a chorale prelude based on that German hymn which we sang last week. The postlude, Gelobet seist, du, Jesu Christ is also a German hymn. Most of Bach’s chorale preludes were literally improvised hymn introductions intended to inspire congregational singing. Listen for notes, rhythms and harmonies that sometimes gloriously jump out at you. He is word painting the hymn texts that run through his mind as he improvises. Bach scholar and conductor John Elliot Gardiner who is agnostic (if there can be among musicians who love Bach) confesses the following: “When you hear something that beautiful, it’s hard not to wonder how it could have been made by a mere mortal.”
This month’s Friends of Music Chamber Music Concert number two.
Next Sunday, January 21, 2018, 4pm: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra members Carolyn Edwards (violin) and Alexandra Thompson (cello) join Anne Carper Smith, organist at Bower Hill Community Church, to present a recital featuring duos by Kodaly, Saint-Saens, Rheinberger, and others. Please come and enjoy an hour of exceptional chamber music. Suggested Donation; $10
NAT 28's annual Pittsburgh Composers Project features the work of established and emerging composers based in Pittsburgh. The concert includes the winners of NAT 28's second annual Call for Scores by emerging composers. This year's winners are Ramin Akhavijou, Chatori Shimizu, and Brian Riordan. We will also feature music by Nancy Galbraith, Curtis Rumrill, and NAT 28's Composer-in-Residence Jean-Patrick Besingrand. This is a great opportunity to experience the creative and innovative music written by composers who call Pittsburgh home.