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

Videos

September 1, 2021 | #121 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. Voluntary in D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .George Dyson
2. Largo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Flor Peeters
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
b. All the Pretty Little Horses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
4. Choral no. 3 in A Minor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . César Franck

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.

“Voluntary in D” (Dyson)

Today’s program opens with the “Voluntary in D” by the somewhat lesser-known English composer George Dyson. I should say that while Dyson’s music isn’t that well known, his reputation as a music administrator was quite robust. After serving as a professor of composition at London’s Royal College of Music from 1921, Dyson was appointed Director of the RCM, from 1938 until his retirement in 1952. He guided that noble college deftly through the difficulties of World War II and the challenges of post-war growth.

Dyson thought his music came across to others as technically sound but in a very traditional idiom for its time. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a 20th-century composer like George Dyson writing in a traditional idiom. Constant novelty and innovation can become tiresome, and as listeners, our ears constantly seek a balance between familiarity and originality. If a piece of music is too well-known or banal, we become bored with it. If it’s too relentlessly innovative (which, it might be said, was an issue for much of the 20th century) we lose interest because it fails to engage us. There is too little for us to hang our present understanding on to make sense of it. Even Arnold Schoenberg, one of the 20th century’s most notoriously innovative composers tantalizingly declared, “There is still plenty of good music to be written in C major.”1  Or, in the case of George Dyson’s Voluntary, in D major.

The balance that we crave when listening to music, that optimal intersection of understanding on the one hand and freshness on the other, flows through many other aspects of our lives as well. Even an epiphany, a “eureka moment” like Archimedes reportedly experienced,2 is built on knowledge that was already firmly in place. Rarely do we gain new understanding without having mastered first the basic principles in which that new concept can take root and grow.

The Bible describes this process of acquiring new spiritual knowledge as “milk before meat,”3 or learning “precept upon precept, line upon line […] here a little and there a little.”4  It’s an eternal principle that applies to all instruction. Even our spiritual “eureka moments” are grounded in truths we already learned. And to paraphrase Schoenberg, there is still plenty of good, simple truth for us to rediscover and learn again. Those foundational certainties can then grow into flashes of added understanding and inspiration that give our faith new life.

  1. Arnold Schoenberg, quoted in Dika Newlin, “Secret Tonality in Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto,” Perspectives of New Music 13/1 (Autumn/Winter, 1974), p. 137.
  2. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka_(word)
  3. See I Corinthians 3:2.
  4. See Isaiah 28:10