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April 28, 2021 | #103 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: Andrew Unsworth

1. Prelude on "Pisgah" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dale Wood
2. a. Prelude in C Major. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach
b. Lyric Interlude. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Alexander Schreiner
3. a. Hymn: Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. An Old Melody: Lisa Lân . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .arr. by organist
4. O Christ, Forgive Thy Servants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Marcel Dupré

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.

“Placare Christe servulis” from Le tombeau de Titelouze (Dupré)

Among French musicians of the early baroque era, there was a commonplace practice of writing a “tombeau” or memorial at the passing of a colleague. The word “tombeau” is French for “tomb” or “tombstone.” Today, the best-known musical tombeau is probably the piano suite composed by Maurice Ravel, Le tombeau de Couperin, published in 1919, so it’s a little more modern. It was an hommage to the great French claveciniste François Couperin, but each movement was dedicated to a friend killed in World War I, so it fulfilled the traditional function of a tombeau.

The work titled “Le tombeau de Titelouze,” by Marcel Dupré, is a different kind altogether, although, like Ravel’s suite, it’s also a wartime work, dating from 1942, and it’s also a collection of shorter movements—in this case 16 plainchant hymns. But Dupré’s “Le tombeau de Titelouze” was inspired directly by the composer’s visit to the unmarked grave of Jean Titelouze, the father of the French Organ School, active in the early 17th century at the cathedral in Rouen, which also happened to be Dupré’s hometown. So this “tombstone” for Titelouze isn’t just a metaphor for a musical memorial—it kind of functions as an almost-literal tombstone, a tangible, touch-it-with-your-fingers object that memorializes the passing, centuries ago, of that important composer and organist.

Titelouze published two collections of organ works, based on the plainchant hymns and liturgy of the church. Fitting, then, for Marcel Dupré to also draw on plainchant in this tombeau, including some of the same hymn tunes Titelouze himself had arranged for organ.

The last of the 16 hymns in Dupré’s collection is “Placare, Christe, servulis,” a 17th-century hymn based on the much older chant “Christe, Redemptor omnium.” It’s a timeless prayer for peace, as relevant in wartime when Dupré composed this setting as it is today. But Dupré doesn’t dwell on the humble supplication and yearning of this hymn’s principal text. As the concluding work in “Le tombeau de Titelouze,” this is a brilliant, glorious toccata, perhaps reflecting the feelings of the hymn’s closing doxology:

To God the Father glory be,
And to His sole-begotten Son;
And glory, Holy Ghost, to Thee,
While everlasting ages run.1

  1. Translation by Edward Caswall, published in his 1849 collection, Lyra Catholica. See https://hymnary.org/text/o_christ_thy_guilty_people_spare.