Videos

December 08, 2021 | #135 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. Joy to the World. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Douglas E. Bush
2. a. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Douglas E. Bush
    b. Far, Far Away on Judea's Plain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .David Chamberlin
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. Of the Father's Love Begotten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .arr. by organist
4. Noël Parisien. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Charles Quef

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.

“Far, Far Away on Judæa’s Plains” (Macfarlane, arr. Chamberlin)

The hymn “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains” has been a familiar component of Latter-day Saint Christmas celebrations since the 1860s, but isn’t well-known outside those traditions. It was, after all, composed in Utah, by John Menzies Macfarlane, a Latter-day Saint immigrant from Scotland, and was published in Utah. But it is unquestionably an ecumenical Christmas hymn. And since it isn’t so familiar to many of the listeners of Piping Up!, I’d like to talk about its lyrics, also written by John Macfarlane. Then you’ll know exactly what you’re not hearing in this organ arrangement, and what Latter-day Saints are reminded of whenever they hear this melody.

The hymn’s message is based on the text of the angels’ Annunciation to the Shepherds, found in Luke 2, verse 14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Those wonderful words, tweaked a little with poetic license, form the refrain for each of the hymn’s four stanzas. This refrain is actually quite contrapuntally complex, with overlapping voice entries and repetitions representing the “multitude of the heavenly host.”1

The stanzas themselves are short, sung as a soprano-alto duet in rhyming couplets. Their musical setting is only half the length of the refrain. Each of the stanzas is an introduction to the words of that awe-inspiring Annunciation:

“Far, far away on Judea’s plains,
Shepherds of old heard the joyous strains:
Glory to God in the highest;
Peace on earth, good will to men.

"Sweet are these strains of redeeming love,
Message of mercy from heav’n above:
Glory to God in the highest;
Peace on earth, good will to men.

“Lord, with the angels we too would rejoice;
Help us to sing with the heart and voice:
Glory to God in the highest;
Peace on earth, good will to men.

“Hasten the time when from ev’ry clime,
Men shall unite in the strains sublime:
Glory to God in the highest;
Peace on earth, good will to men.”2

That message of celebration the angels offered at the Nativity transformed the shepherds’ fear into joy. It brings joy to us now, and will continue to replace fear with joy while ever we focus on treating each with good will, and striving for peace.

  1.  Luke 2:13.
  2. Hymns, No. 212