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

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June 30, 2021 | #112 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

Organists: Brian Mathias, Linda Margetts, Joseph Peeples, Andrew Unsworth and Richard Elliott

Brian Mathias
Fanfare (excerpt) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens
Processional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .William Mathias

Tour of the Assembly Hall Practice Rooms with Linda Margetts

Linda Margetts
Trumpet Voluntary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .John Stanley

Joseph Peeples
Fugue in G Minor (“Little”). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach

Tour of the Tabernacle Organ Chambers with Andrew Unsworth and Robert Poll (Head Organ Technician)

Andrew Unsworth
As the Dew from Heaven Distilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alexander Schreiner

Discussion of Organ Pedals and Pedaling with Richard Elliott

Richard Elliott
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot . . . . . . . . . . African American Spiritual, arr. Richard Elliott

All Five Tabernacle and Temple Square Organists
Allegro (third movement), from Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Richard Elliott

Richard Elliott
Shall We Gather at the River (excerpt) . . . . . . . . . . . . .Robert Lowry, arr. Richard Elliott

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.

“Allegro” from Brandenburg Concerto No.3, BWV 1048 (J. S. Bach, arr. Elliott)

The story around Bach and his Brandenburg Concertos is fascinating.  It’s a story of missed opportunities, of doing one’s best work only to be overlooked or forgotten, of wondering if the grass really is greener somewhere else.  At some point in our lives we’ve all lived through a version of this story.

In 1721, Sebastian Bach dedicated an ornate and elaborately-presented score of six orchestral concertos to Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg. At the time, Bach’s current employment was becoming increasingly vulnerable, and he was looking elsewhere for a more stable position.  He probably intended this collection of scores as a job application, hoping to gain new employment at the Margrave’s court in Berlin.

In a rather obsequious dedication letter, Bach apologized for his “little talent” and begged the Margrave not to judge too harshly the “imperfection” of these pieces.  Now, to be clear, these Brandenburg concertos are considered some of the finest, most innovative orchestral works of the entire baroque era.  But Bach never heard back from the Margrave of Brandenburg.  He was never offered a position in Berlin.  After the Margrave died, these scores were found sitting on a shelf in his library, apparently unused.

From our point of view, if not perhaps from Bach’s, this might have been for the best.  Two years later, Bach accepted a posting as Kantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where he would produce most of his sacred vocal music: the truly profound church cantatas, several breathtaking settings of the Passion, the awe-inspiring Mass in B minor.  We don’t know what compositions Bach would have written had he been offered employment at the Brandenburg court. But we do know what he wouldn’t have written if he’d never gone to Leipzig.1

In the hymn “God Moves in A Mysterious Way,” William Cowper declared that as God’s divine purposes unfold, “The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.”2  I’m sure Bach felt some bitterness at his rejection by the Margrave of Brandenburg—those were really magnificent concertos that he’d sent along.  And Bach was never really happy with his job in Leipzig, either.  But we can see now, with hindsight, the glorious flower that emerged from such a bitter setback.  For hundreds of years, the world has been wonderfully blessed to have Bach’s sacred vocal music.  But that only happened because the equally wonderful Brandenburg Concertos were, for a time, ignored and forgotten.

The organists on Temple Square—Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Brian Mathias, Linda Margetts, and Joseph Peeples—will now play the final movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, BWV 1048, arranged for five organists by Richard Elliott.  This will be performed on the 1993 Casavant Frères organ in the chapel of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City—the first time this organ has been featured in an organ broadcast from Temple Square.

  1. See http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics2/brandenburg.html.
  2. https://hymnary.org/text/god_moves_in_a_mysterious_way