"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

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February 09, 2022 | #144 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. Sortie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .César Franck
2. a. Allegro vivace, from Symphony no. 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Louis Vierne
    b. Chant de paix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jean Langlais
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. Abide with Me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Prelude and Fugue in G Major . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach

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.

“Chant de paix,” from Neuf Pièces, Op. 40 (Langlais)

Sometimes it can be really difficult to find peace in the midst of great adversity, when just living from day to day seems like a gargantuan task in itself. It could be an illness that challenges us, a pandemic or war, difficult relationships, overwork or under-employment, isolation, finances—the list goes on almost endlessly. Where do we find tranquility when everything and everyone seems to be in turmoil?

This must have been a question Jean Langlais considered when he composed his “Nine Pieces” for organ in Paris during the darkest months of World War II. On a commission from the publisher Bornemann, Langlais wrote a series of works that included, for example, settings of German Lutheran chorale tunes—while the German occupation of Paris had imposed crippling deprivations on the people. He wrote a “Song of Joy” when joy must have seemed impossible. The Nine Pieces also include a “Chant heroïque,” dedicated to Langlais’s dear friend and fellow organist Jehan Alain, killed in action earlier in the war. And he composed a “Song of Peace” when peace—in both the global and personal sense—was in very short supply.

But in his private music classes at the time, Langlais came to know a student named Claire Boussac. She was a conscientious learner—Langlais later remembered her as “the only one of my students to whom I never had to say the same thing twice.”1 He also described her as “such a peaceful soul, so uncomplaining, so calm in the face of life.”2 He wrote this “Chant de paix” for her.

It’s only 32 measures long, and yet, like some of Messiaen’s organ works, seems ageless, lifting itself out of the prosaic, metronomic concept of time with long sustained harmonies that anchor the music, and the soul, in calmness.

As Saint Paul wrote the Romans, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”3 Claire Boussac was clearly the kind of person who followed after the things that make for peace, even during a time of war. And in so doing, she was able to help Jean Langlais find peace, at least for a few minutes, in this “Chant de paix.” We can, too, as Saint Paul advised, strive to be that friend, or find that friend, who can bring peace to a troubled soul.

  1. Marie-Louise Langlais, Jean Langlais Remembered (2016), p. 111.
  2. Ibid., p. 112
  3. Romans 14:19