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

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March 23, 2022 | #150 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. Kommst du nun, Jesus, vom Himmel herunter. . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach
2. a. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach
    b. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach
3. a. Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach
    b. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach
4. Fantasia super "Kom, Heiliger Geist" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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.

“Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’,” BWV 662 and BWV 675 (J. S. Bach)

Bach typically revisited a chorale melody more than once in his lifetime. One of his chorale-based cantatas, for example, might include different arrangements of the same tune several times: an opening choral fugue, some arias, a concluding four-part chorus, and so on. On a different occasion, Bach would write a chorale prelude or two for organ, or an organ harmonization of that same hymn tune.

Of course, with chorales it’s not just the music Bach was responding to. He was keenly aware that the different stanzas of chorale texts add unique interpretive inflections to the music they share. So when Bach wrote a new chorale-based composition, it’s important to know not only which tune he based it on, but which stanza of that hymn text informs the specific composition.

That’s one reason why there’s such a range of emotional expression in Bach’s various settings of “Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’.” This is a chorale Bach used in six cantata movements from five different cantatas, as well as nearly a dozen chorale preludes for organ.

The text is a paraphrase of the Latin “Gloria” from the Mass—“Glory to God in the Highest”—translated by Nikolaus Decius in 1523. As such, it was sung nearly every Sunday in Lutheran services. Part of Bach’s motivation to write so many different settings might simply have been to add variety to a very common and regular part of the worship. But he also emphasizes different aspects of the text in each setting. In four verses, this chorale variously praises God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; it thanks God for His grace, good will, and peace; petitions for His protection; and acknowledges His supreme wisdom, justice, and power. There are a lot of emotions in those confessions of faith, a lot of possibilities for different musical interpretations of the one melody.

We’ll hear two settings of “Allein Gott, in der Höh sei Ehr’,” the first, a three-part prelude, BWV 675. It’s light, lively, and cheerful—this is definitely upbeat worship. Then a much more solemn, deeply heartfelt version, BWV 662, that implores God humbly for comfort.