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October 27, 2021 | #129 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: Andrew Unsworth

1. Fanfare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Percy Whitlock
2. a. Prelude in C Major . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johann Sebastian Bach
b. Impromptu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Henry Dunham
c. O Welt, ich muss dich lassen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johannes Brahms
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
b. An Old Melody: "Lisa Lân" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .arr. by organist
4. Fugue sur le thème du Carillon des heures de la cathédrale de Soissons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Maurice Duruflé

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.

“O Welt, ich muss dich lassen,” Op. 122, No. 3 (Brahms)

The “Eleven Chorale Preludes” of Johannes Brahms, Op. 122, were composed in 1896, very near the end of the composer’s life, and were published posthumously in 1902. They include the last musical notes Brahms ever wrote.

In these works, Brahms contemplates mortality through the lens of Lutheran chorales. It wasn’t just his own final illness and imminent death that prompted him to write these works. Brahms was deeply affected by the loss of his dear friend and associate Clara Schumann, who died in May of 1896, just as he was working on these preludes. She had been a mentor, advisor, and collaborator with Brahms for more than forty years.

You may have heard the musical rule of thumb that major-key works tend to sound happy, and minor-key works sound sad. Much of the time that’s true, but it’s not a firm rule by any means. In Brahms’s settings of the funeral chorale “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen,” we hear a potent example of a work in a major key—it’s in F major—but expressing deep world-weariness. I believe it actually gains in effect by not resorting to all the musical devices that had traditionally expressed grief.

Much of the pathos is expressed in the words of the chorale, originally from 1555, which declare a readiness, even an eagerness to leave this world and return to the “ewig Vaterland,” the everlasting Fatherland where God dwells. The second verse declares that since the author’s time on earth is finished, death is actually a profitable blessing—it brings us into Eternity, and, as the lyrics assert, “I’ll go there with peace and joy.”1

Perhaps it was that bittersweet mixture of sadness and anticipation that Brahms set in his arrangement of “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen.” The peace-filled melody is in the right hand, but the inner voices, subtly and reverently, breathe in sighing two-note phrases. Are they laments, or simply breaths? In any case, they cease at the final cadence. I hear in them a perfect musical blend of resignation and peace.

  1. Original German lyrics reproduced from https://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale099-Eng3.htm. English translations and paraphrases by Luke Howard.