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

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November 03, 2021 | #130 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. Fanfare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .William Mathias
2. a. Prelude in A Major . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Sebastian Bach
    b. Rhosymedre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ralph Vaughan Williams
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. Beautiful Savior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Allegro, from Symphony no. 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Charles-Marie Widor

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.

“Prelude on “Rhosymedre”" (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

Perhaps no other composer had a greater impact on Anglican church music in the 20th century than Ralph Vaughan Williams. The son of an Anglican vicar, Vaughan Williams was tasked, early in his career, with editing the English Hymnal, a project that took him two years, from 1904 to 1906. It restored many treasured hymn tunes to the Anglican liturgy, and that experience of reviewing centuries of hymnody fundamentally focused his compositional style and output for the remainder of his career.

Vaughan Williams later recalled, with humor and self-deprecation, that when he was asked to edit the hymnal he protested because he claimed that, having been a church organist at one point, he knew very little about hymns! In fact, Vaughan Williams had almost no ongoing involvement with church music at all at the time—he had been a staunch atheist while a student at Cambridge, and then mellowed into cheerful agnosticism later in life. But Ralph Vaughan Williams loved the institution of the Church, the King James version of the Bible, and the centuries-old traditions of choral singing that the church supported. Those who knew of his personal integrity and musical acumen, as well as his atheism, had recommended him for the job.

It may have been this very lack of involvement in church music that made Vaughan Williams the perfect editor for the hymnal. He wasn’t swayed by sentiment, political pressure, or by thoughts of personal gain or acclaim. It was tedious work, poorly paid, and took ten times as long as anyone originally estimated. To the consternation of his committee, Vaughan Williams judged hymn tunes on their musical merit and suitability to the text, not on mawkishness or popularity or personal connections to the tune’s composer. He just wanted to keep the all good tunes and eliminate the bad ones. There’s no place for mediocrity when worshipping God through music.

Some people may have thought it sacrilege or at least irreverent or inappropriate for an atheist to be charged with selecting the church’s musical liturgy. But one of Vaughan Williams’s most compelling qualifications for this task, in addition to his outstanding musical credentials, was that he was a man “of good will.” Many great thinkers, both secular and religious, agree that “good will” or “virtue”—a disposition to do something beneficial principally because it is the right thing to do—is a fundamental trait of those who achieve real good in this world. And I believe in his work on the English Hymnal, Ralph Vaughan Williams exemplified “good will.”