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February 16, 2022 | #145 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: Richard Elliott

1. God Moves in a Mysterious Way . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . George Dyson
2. a. Sea Song. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Edward Mac Dowell
    b. La cathédral engloutie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Claude Debussy
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. Sicilian Mariners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .arr. by organist
4. Farewell to Nova Scotia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Richard L. Elliott

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.

“God Moves in a Mysterious Way” (Dyson, arr. Elliott)
 

This concert opens with the English organist George Dyson’s arrangement of the hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” Dyson used one of the alternate musical settings of that hymn, a tune known as “LONDON NEW,” originally published in 1635. Benjamin Britten also used it when he included “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” in his cantata Saint Nicholas.

The words to this hymn were penned by the 18th-century poet William Cowper, a talented writer who suffered from chronic mental illness and severe depression throughout his life. But with treatment, and the ministering of his friend John Newton (the author of “Amazing Grace”), Cowper was able to recover and remain productive. Both men understood first-hand the darkness and loneliness of feeling disconnected from the divine. It’s an interesting comparison, actually, to read side-by-side the words of “Amazing Grace” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” and track each author’s faith journey from darkness to light.

John Newton’s story is well-known—he had been a sea captain on slave ships before his dramatic conversion to Christ during a storm at sea in 1748. Newton marked the anniversary of this conversion every year, and celebrated it as a day of thanksgiving.

In 1764, Newton took a position as priest in the parish at Olney, in Buckinghamshire. Three years later, William Cowper joined him there. While serving as an unpaid curate and assistant in the parish, Cowper must have heard Newton’s extraordinary conversion story many times. Perhaps this was what led Cowper to write, in the first verse of his hymn, that God “plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.”

Cowper struggled for the rest of his life to feel that he had, himself, been the beneficiary of Christ’s redeeming power. But he had no doubt that his dear friend and colleague, John Newton, had felt it, at sea, in a storm, and that the experience had powerfully changed his life for good.