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

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March 31, 2021 | #99 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. Toccata on "Jesus, Lover of My Soul". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Bednall
2. a. Fantasia on "Valet will ich dir geben" (BWV 735) . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach
    b. Herzlich tut mich verlangen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johannes Brahms
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. An Old Melody: Deep River. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Fantasy on "Easter Hymn" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .William H. Harris

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.

“Herzlich tut mich verlangen” (Brahms)

Brahms’s compositional style is distinctive. Of all the great composers working in the second half of the 19th century, he was perhaps the most committed to music of the past. He idolized Beethoven, collected first editions of Mozart and Haydn, and was the editor for the published editions of the music of Handel, Bach, and Couperin. So the forms in which Brahms chose to write were typically conventional more than modern. He favored a good solid bass line, so the rich harmonies in the other parts could work in conjunction with a dependable harmonic reference point. He loved to play around with rhythm and meter—cross-rhythms, syncopations, hemiola, ties across the bar-line—momentarily unsettling the regularity of beat. And while he avoided “program music,” or the retelling of a dramatic narrative through instrumental composition, that didn’t prevent Brahms from expressing in his instrumental music a certain “Affekt,” as it’s called in German, the outward manifestation of a particular emotion.

In his second organ setting of “Herzlich tut mich verlangen,” Brahms demonstrates all of these traits, along with the ability, gleaned through his study of Bach’s music, to represent belief and faith through instrumental music. While an inner voice beats a steady pulse of repeated notes, almost imperceptible in the texture, the right-hand plays shifting, unsteady figures, sometimes gathered into 8 groups of 3 instead of the expected 6 groups of 4. The meter changes from 6/4 to 4/4 without warning in the middle of the piece, then changes back again. These rhythmic and metric traits express instability, an unsettling detachment from the regular pulse of life.

The harmonies remain mostly conventional in A minor until the stunning slow-motion cascade of chromatic syncopation at the words “this bad world” printed above the chorale tune in the pedal. That painful chromaticism continues to flavor the remainder of the prelude until the final cadence, the only restful moment in the entire prelude, at the words “O Jesus, come now.” Clearly, Brahms has used his own compositional vocabulary in this work to express grief over death, and a yearning for rescue from eternal death. Bach himself may not have been able to express those feelings more powerfully.