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

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June 16, 2021 | #110 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. Festive Trumpet Tune . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .David German
2. a. Scherzo, from Symphony no. 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Louis Vierne
b. Adagio in E Major . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Frank Bridge
3. a. Hymn: Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
b. An old melody. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Moto ostinato, from Nedělní hudba (Sunday Music). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Petr Eben

LISTENER REQUESTED SELECTION Go to the Piping Up! web page to make your request!

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.

“Moto ostinato” from Musica Dominicalis (Eben)

Petr Eben, a Czech composer active in the second half of the 20th century, endured many challenges in his career.  Though he was raised devout Catholic, Eben’s father was Jewish, and so the young Petr Eben, only 14 years old, was sent to Buchenwald, the notorious Nazi concentration camp, in 1943, and remained there until the end of the war.  Only a few years after the war ended, the communist party came to power in Czechoslovakia, ruling the country for the next four decades. 

Through this, Eben continued his music studies.  And he continued to attend church even though official communist policy was opposed to religion in general, and Catholicism in particular.  Eben refused to join the communist party, which meant he was repeatedly passed over for important appointments and commissions.  

Eben loved the pipe organ—it was in organ music that he found his greatest joy, consolation, and friendship.  He greatly admired the works of Jehan Alain and Olivier Messiaen, and some of their devotional fervor can be found in Eben’s organ compositions, as well.  Much of Eben’s music in general shares a message that Good will triumph over Evil.  It’s a message that sometimes must have seemed at odds with the world he saw around him.    

In 1958, Eben wrote a set of four pieces for organ titled “Musica Dominicalis” or “Sunday Music.”  Eben’s friends wondered why he was writing a work for organ when the government actively discouraged music concerts in churches, believing that if people showed up to church for a concert, they might start showing up to church for church.  There was, in other words, apparently no possibility of public performance for the “Musica Dominicalis.”  Now, composers working in the Eastern bloc during the 20th century were well accustomed to the idea of writing music “for the drawer,” as it were.  But Eben didn’t write “Musica Dominicalis” for the drawer.  He didn’t write it for a public concert, or an audience, or a commission, or even for his friends.  His primary thought was to write this piece for the organ… literally.  It was his offering to the instrument that had supported him and brought him joy during long, difficult periods of hardship and suffering.

Brian closes his program today with the striking third movement of “Musica Dominicalis,” titled “Moto ostinato.” In this movement, Eben represents the gathering forces of war and evil with an ominous, repeating rhythm that recurs in nearly every measure of the music.   Good does finally triumph in Eben’s “Musica Dominicalis,” but that victory is in the fourth movement Finale.  You should listen to it.