Notes from the Console
There are two non-Sunday morning events I would like to draw to your attention, with hopes you can join us:
On Sunday, January 26th at 4pm, we will resume our monthly service of Evensong with the Parish Choir. This most Anglican of services is a great way to re-set before beginning the stresses of a normal week.
And on Thursday, February 6th at 7:30pm, I will be playing a faculty recital at the University of Texas, on the concert organ in Bates Auditorium, 2406 Robert Dedman Drive. This recital is free and open to the public, and marks my first concert since beginning to teach at UT. It would be great to have many of you there. The program will include music of Bach, Buxtehude, Mendelssohn, Louis Vierne, Scott Joplin and others.
This column is called ‘Notes from the Console,’ yet I have never really discussed organ music very much. I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight just a couple of pieces coming up at our worship:
On January 12th, the First Sunday after the Epiphany, we observe the Baptism of Christ. For that day, the opening voluntary will be Christ unser Herr, zum Jordan kam, or ‘Christ, our Lord, came to the Jordan,’ by J.S. Bach. This lovely setting of the Lutheran chorale for this day features some of the most beautiful tone-painting of which Bach was capable. If you listen, you will hear the flowing water of the Jordan being illustrated by running 16th-notes in the left hand. In the right hand, two lines twine around each other like birds in flight (doves of the Holy Spirit?), about to descend and anoint the Messiah. The melody is played in the pedal, utilizing one of the reed stops of the organ. The chorale itself will be sung as the first communion hymn at the 10:30 service that day.
And on January 19th, I will be playing two pieces by Adolphus Hailstork, in anticipation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. Hailstork is professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Old Dominion University, VA. A student of Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Dr. Hailstork is one of the distinguished African-American composers of the current time. At the beginning of each service, I will play his Prelude on ‘We Shall Overcome’. This quiet setting in trio style serves to remind us that ‘We Shall Overcome’ is not a hymn of conquest or triumph, but rather one of calm assurance that God’s purpose for us will be fulfilled, no matter the obstacles put in our paths. To end the service, I will play his Toccata on ‘Great Day’, an exuberant reminder of the joy that will be ours when we are finally all, equally, one with our Lord. Some of you may recall Dr. Hailstork as being the composer of the lively Toccata on ‘Veni Emmanuel’ in 5/8 time, which I played for the 4th Sunday of Advent.
I hope that this small look at the some of our organ music will help your appreciation for why I play particular music on a particular day. And if you ever have questions about any of the music in the liturgy, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Finally, please remember that we are always looking for new choir members. There are openings in the Parish, Quin, and Bell Choirs. For further information, please see me, or check out the music page on the parish website, www.allsaints-austin.org