Thursday, July 28, 2016

Anniversary Recital

This coming Sunday, July 31, I get to be the guest organist at my church's 65th anniversary service (Grace Lutheran, Versailles, Mo.) and, following a noon luncheon, a special musical program. It's pretty exciting. And a lot of hard work has gone into it, even though many of the pieces are ones I have played in public before. So I don't think I am tempting God when I pray that it all goes well.

Here are the pieces of special music that have been planned for the anniversary service:

  • Preludes: D. Buxtehude's chorale preludes on "A Mighty Fortress" and "Salvation Unto Us Has Come."
  • One of A. Dvorak's "Biblical Songs," performed by vocal soloist Carl Beach, who was a member of the congregation's first confirmation class, and who currently leads a choir in Jefferson City.
  • A contemporary recitative and vocal duet setting of the Nunc dimittis ("Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace"), performed by Mr. Beach and Jennifer Rauscher, who is a current member of the congregation, a music teacher, and a frequent cast member in local theater productions.
  • My own vocal-solo setting of Psalm 133, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is," sung by Miss Rauscher.
  • Communion voluntary: H. Walcha's chorale prelude on "A Mighty Fortress."
  • Postlude: M. Reger's Little Organ Book prelude on "A Mighty Fortress."
And here is the playlist for the recital after dinner:
  • J.S. Bach's prelude on "Wake, Awake" (the "king of chorales").
  • J. Pachelbel's prelude on "How Lovely Shines the Morning Star" (the "queen of chorales").
  • One of J.P. Sweelinck's chorale variations on "Lord, hear the voice of my complaint."
  • Another Dvorak "Biblical Song" and C. Franck's "Panis Angelicus," both sung by Miss Rauscher.
  • Luther's hymn "May God Bestow on Us His Grace," sung by Miss Rauscher with young Aidan Rottmann accompanying her on the guitar.
  • F. Peeters' chorale prelude on "Gracious Savior, Gentle Shepherd."
  • My own chorale preludes on "I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table" and "Salvation Unto Us Has Come."
  • A ricercar by G. Frescobaldi.
None of it is awfully virtuosic. It's just music that I think brings out the best qualities of the instrument without being flashy or showy - music that I consider fun to play, and that I think people will enjoy hearing. Plus, the words that go with the tunes fit the message of the congregation's faith and doctrine. It will be, to the extent I can help it, a completely non-tacky musical event, with the meaning of solid, historic Lutheran hymns at the center and not the performers nor the instruments, which in themselves are nothing special. It's the kind of program I would be proud to be a part of. And guess what... I am!


Cuda said...

Sounds good. How do you perceive it went?

RobbieFish said...

Based on the fact nobody seemed to notice how many mistakes I made, I guess it was a success.