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December 22, 2021 | #137 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. Adeste Fideles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Franklin D. Ashdown
2. a. In dulci jubilo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach
    b. Es ist ein Ros' entsrungen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johannes Brahms
    c. La Nativité . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jean Langlais
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. What Child Is This? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Postlude sur un Noël. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Denis Bédard

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.

“La Nativité” (Langlais)

The legendary French organist Jean Langlais wrote organ works that are grounded firmly in the liturgical traditions of the church, while also exploring some of the newer 20th-century techniques of composition. Like his friend and associate Olivier Messiaen, Langlais studied composition with Paul Dukas at the Paris Conservatoire.

Dukas encouraged his students to find their own voice, to not sound like him, and even to not sound like their own previous works, but continually seek out new resources and find inspiration outside of the classroom, beyond the technical aspects Dukas could teach them. Langlais and Messiaen both did this throughout their careers. And yet the effect in each case was not a continual kaleidoscope of change and eclectic innovation. Rather, their music is deeply cohesive. They found their own voices.

The unity in Langlais’s compositional philosophy came about precisely because he continually sought for more ideas, more beauty, more truth, more honesty to incorporate into his own unique musical language. Not satisfied with repeating the same formulas over and over again, and the associated risk of creative atrophy, Langlais constantly reached out to embrace the unfamiliar, and fit those new puzzle pieces into the rich tapestry of his musical offerings.

As a wise man once advised, in our efforts to become a better “example of the believers,”1 we would do well to continually and actively seek after the things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.2 It might surprise us sometimes where we’ll find those things. But the act of constantly reaching for and bringing that new beauty into our own lives will have the same effect it had on Langlais’s music. It will ground us more firmly in the knowledge of our own divine nature.

Brian will now play what is surely one of the most beautiful musical evocations of the mood and atmosphere surrounding the Nativity, Jean Langlais’s “La Nativité” from the Poèmes Évangéliques of 1932. It’s in four sections, corresponding to the manger, the angels, the shepherds, and the Holy Family. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the manger theme and the shepherds theme combine at the end, when the shepherds arrive at the manger to worship the baby Jesus.

  1. 1 Timothy 4:12.
  2. The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1:13.