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Farewell Recital Selections

William Ness at  the Organ

Farewell Organ Recital by William Ness,
May 15, 2015 at 7:15

Including the following works…

William Ness shares with us his selections for his Farewell Organ Recital. He is retiring after fifteen years as our Minister of Music & Arts.

Pageant of Sowerby is an iconic masterful bravura pedal work piece. Sowerby composed it specifically for Fernando Germani, an Italian organ virtuoso of the 1930’s. It includes many pitfalls for any organist and remains to this day a staple of the organ recitalist.

Two chorale preludes from the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes of Bach. These two works have the chorale tune played by the pedals while the manuals decorate the tune. In Herr Jesus Christ the tune doesn’t appear until the last half of the work where it is obvious a melody is present rather than a simple bass line.

The “Great” Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 546 concludes my selection from Bach.

Scherzo,Op.2 of Maurice Duruflé is in rondo form with second and third themes interrupting the delightful charming melody. This early work of Duruflé readily expresses what his compositional style is about.

The Second Fantasy of Jehan Alain also briefly expresses what his compositional style of writing is about. The organ will “sound” differently in this work because the sanctuary has mutation stops, plus many more that can recreate some of his noted unusual registrations.

Grunenwald’s Hymne aux Memoires Heroiques is dedicated to Jehan Alain. They were both born in 1911 and Grunenwald survived Alain by many years. This is a thrilling work to play and listen to.

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition remains a staple of the symphonic repertoire even though it was composed for piano solo. But theorists and musicologists seem to see the piano version as a preliminary essay of this colorful work. The organ version takes most of its color inspiration from the orchestral versions, most notably that of Maurice Ravel. While some passages are completely rewritten others remain exactly as they are in the piano score. This is a rarely heard “organ” work and is a massive work for the organ, which I hope you will enjoy.

William Ness