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September 15, 2021 | #123 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. O God, Our Help in Ages Past. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Cundick
2. a. Prelude and Fugue in B Major. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Camille Saint-Saëns
    b. Aria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charles Callahan
3. a. Come, Come, Ye Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arr. by organist
    b. The King of Love My Shepherd Is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .arr. by organist
4. Carillon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marcel Dupré

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.

“Carillon” (Dupré)

The final work on today’s program is the “Carillon” by Marcel Dupré, which, as the title suggests, imitates the sound of church bells. There’s a standard procedure for reproducing bell-like effects on a keyboard—it’s usually achieved by adding open octaves and fifths above the melodic line, and then moving that harmonizing shape in parallel with the melody. To understand a little about why this procedure sounds like bells, we need to explore the acoustic principle of harmonics.

Every time a musical instrument plays a note, there is a fundamental frequency. When a piano, for example, plays middle C, the frequency we hear most prominently is, not surprisingly, middle C. But another instrument could play the same note, same volume, same frequency—a cello, perhaps, or a clarinet—and it would have a different timbre or tone color. That’s because every fundamental pitch also has a series of related frequencies that aren’t usually quite as easy to hear on their own. They’re often called harmonics, partials, or overtones, depending on the context. And the unique combination of these harmonics is a big part of what produces distinct instrumental timbres. The characteristic harmonic spectrum of bells happens to feature upper octaves and fifths, and that’s what makes a bell sound like a bell. It’s the same for all tuned instruments—as they play the fundamental pitches, their unique harmonic spectrum is what makes them sound like themselves.

There’s a useful metaphor in this. No doubt you’ve had the experience of reading something, then reading the same thing again later and understanding it quite differently, or sharing it with someone else who then doesn’t see it the same way you did. How a single idea resonates differently within each of us can be as unique and distinct as the variety of timbres in musical instruments.

Long ago, a wise man advised that we would benefit greatly from likening the scriptures to ourselves.1 Think of a bible verse, for example, as a single note, a fundamental frequency: the actual words are the same for everyone. But there are associated ideas and thoughts that can sound within us in different combinations, at different times, under different circumstances. The same words, which we perhaps thought we once understood, can touch off previously undetected ideas as we continue, over time, to liken the scriptures to ourselves, or share what we know and understand with others. We can learn from and be inspired by many connected truths that ring from a single thought, if we are attuned to them in spirit, and ready to recognize them.

  1. 1 Nephi 19:23.