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April 7, 2021 | #100 Piping Up! Organ Concerts at Temple Square

Piping Up! Organ Concerts at Temple Square is streamed online every Wednesday at 12:00 noon MDT. Piping Up! can be viewed on TheTabernacleChoir.org, the Choir’s YouTube channel, the Choir’s Facebook page, and Broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. When concerts are concluded, they are available for on-demand viewing on the Choir’s website, YouTube and Facebook.

These programs continue the tradition of noon organ recitals at Temple Square—a tradition that has lasted for more than a century. The concerts are produced without an audience and comply with all COVID-19 guidelines. Each concert will feature a different Tabernacle or Temple Square organist and is hosted by Luke Howard.

Repertoire

Organist: Brian Mathias

1. Toccata on "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clay Christiansen
2. a. Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 625. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach
2. b. Improvisation on "Victimae Paschali" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charles Tournemire
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. An Old Melody: Beautiful Savior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Toccata, from Symphony no. 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Charles-Marie Widor

Focus Piece

An on-going feature of Piping Up! Organ Concerts at Temple Square is a focus piece with additional inspirational background on a specific repertoire selection. Written by host Luke Howard, a professor of music at Brigham Young University, the focus piece connects the music in a unique way to lift and inspire listeners.

“Christ lag is Todesbanden” BWV 625 (J. S. Bach)
Chorale-Improvisation sur le “Victimae paschali” (Tournemire, arr. Duruflé)

The plainchant sequence “Victimae paschali laudes” has been sung in Easter services in the Christian church for about a thousand years, maybe longer. It survived both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, which is, in itself, remarkable. And it’s still performed liturgically in a number of different forms at Easter celebrations in our own day, making it both one of the most durable and versatile parts of the Christian liturgy.

Even before the Reformation, this text and its melody had been adapted into a “Leise” or German religious song, not meant to be sung in church but rather intended as a private devotion among the pious. In 1524, Martin Luther and his associate Johann Walter produced a new Reformation hymn, “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” based on “Victimae paschali laudes” and the “Leise” it had inspired. Luther’s new hymn, in seven stanzas, focuses on the resurrection in greater detail than the original Latin text. But Luther retained in the German lyrics a direct reference to the “paschal sacrifice” that opens the Latin sequence. Even the melody to this new hymn was based on the plainchant melody of “Victimae paschali laudes,” a melody that every one of the first Lutherans would have already known, having being devout Catholics previously.

During the Counter-Reformation, Pope Pius V significantly revised the Catholic Church’s liturgical music, and abolished many of the chant sequences that had crept into the Roman rite over the centuries. But he retained “Victimae paschali laudes” as one of only four sequences in the Tridentine liturgy.

So, for nearly 500 years, this Latin Catholic hymn and its German Protestant counterpart have been essential musical elements in the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter. What a lovely symbol of common conviction in a central tenet of Christian belief!

Brian will play now J. S. Bach’s chorale prelude on the Lutheran hymn “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” BWV 625, followed Charles Tournemire’s Chorale-Improvisation sur le “Victimae paschali,” transcribed by Maurice Duruflé—two very distinctive organ works based on the same centuries-old hymn.

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