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March 02, 2022 | #147 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: Joseph Peeples

1. Ceremonial March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Herbert Sumsion
2. a. Canzon "La Spiritata". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giovanni Gabrieli
    b. Softly and Tenderly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Raymond Haan
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. Su Gân . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .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.

“Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir,” BWV 686 (J. S. Bach)

In much of the Christian world, this day begins a season of personal reflection in preparation for the celebration of Easter. This has historically been regarded as a penitential season, when believers ponder their constant reliance on God and the need for a Savior to redeem us all from death and sin.

It’s for that reason that Psalm 130, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord,” is frequently associated with this particular season. It’s a penitential psalm that speaks not just to a recognition of our own failings and weaknesses, but also of hope, forgiveness, patience, and ultimately redemption.

Around 1523, in the early days of the Protestant movement, Martin Luther translated Psalm 130 from the Latin, and paraphrased it into German verse. He wanted to demonstrate how it was possible to turn the word of God directly into a hymn that the congregation could sing and understand. In that form, “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” was one of the very first Lutheran chorales. It was published as a hymn text in 1524 in the “Achtliederbuch,” the first Lutheran hymnal, and later that same year appeared in a musical setting for four-part choir, composed and published by Johann Walter in collaboration with Luther. Since that time, the chorale tune “Aus tiefer Not” has inspired many other musical compositions, all with the aim of focusing our attention on Christ as the true source of salvation.

J. S. Bach used this chorale tune twice in his cantata of the same name, and in two chorale preludes for organ from Book 3 of the Clavier-Übung, sometimes referred to as the German Organ Mass, published in 1739. The first of these, BWV 686, is one of the most complex, ingenious, and profound organ works Bach ever composed—his only work for organ in 6 parts, including two pedal voices. It’s also one of the finest examples of his composition in the old style, the “stile antico” of late Renaissance polyphony.

What does it tell us about Bach, that in the contemplation of humanity’s endemic frailty, in our common fallen state, he finds a source of inspiration to produce one of his most astonishingly sophisticated musical compositions? This chorale prelude, rooted in the hymn’s confession of human fallibility, is the crowning climax of his German Organ Mass. When Bach cried “out of the depths” in this work, it was apparently with all the talent, skill, creativity, and fervor he could muster. The central message—that we all need a Savior—was one he deemed worthy of his greatest effort.