A BRIEF PREVIEW of AMY LAUREN JONES'
UPCOMING MASTER'S ORGAN RECITAL:
Because family events will likely prevent my
attending Amy Jones' recital on Oct 23, I was
kindly invited to hear her "jury" on Oct 3.
This was in essence a dress rehearsal; one part
of her recital was omitted, the congregational
singing of "Be Thou My Vision" - as there were
only four persons in the room (Jones, organ
professor Dr. Robert Knupp, me, and one other
person), any attempt at congregational song would
have been ludicrous!
The four formal pieces (listed below) were played
flawlessly and with passion. It was a compelling
performance; my attention was seized at the outset
and not let go until all four were finished!
If you attend you will be richly rewarded!
Glenn A. Gentry
Mississippi College presents
Amy Lauren Jones, Organist
Monday, October 23, 2017, 7:30 P.M.
Provine Chapel, on campus
Präludium, g-moll, BuxWV 149
Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Präludium und Fuge e-moll - the "Wedge", BWV 548
Johann Sebastian Bach (1750-1685)
Be Thou My Vision (Slane)
arr. Amy Jones, b. 1993
To be sung by all
Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain, Op. 7
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)
Prelude & Fugue in F Minor, Op. 45
Rachel Laurin (b. 1961)
By the end of Bach's career, fugal form had fallen out of favor even
among his own sons, who criticized counterpoint as a centuries-old
practice that had worn out its welcome. But Bach viewed the music of
the next generation as spiritually shallow, and in response, sought to
prove the musical and spiritual substance of the fugue. This program
incorporates versions of preludes and fugues from various countries
and centuries, ending with a prizewinning composition less than ten
years old. Listeners may decide whether the fugue still serves as an
effective musical form.
Prelude in G Minor, BuxWV 149 - Buxtehude (1637-1707)
This popular early organ work opens with 29 measures of free toccata-like material, followed by two fugues back to back without any intervening free material. For this reason, the work is sometimes referred to as a prelude and fugue, but does not follow the usual form of a prelude followed by a single fugue. The second fugue gives way to rhapsodic passages, borrowing motivic material from the fugue subject that Buxtehude inserts at least twice in strict form. Although Buxtehude's compositions usually alternate toccata-like material with fugal material, this piece incorporates two fugues in between free toccata sections.
Prelude & Fugue in E Minor, BWV 548, the "Wedge" - J.S. Bach (1750-1685)
As a church musician, Bach studied under Buxtehude and learned the art
of counterpoint. Although Bach never achieved the fame of Buxtehude in
his lifetime, he remains known today as a master of the fugue. After
sharpening his craft in Arnstadt and Weimar, he completed his most
ambitious preludes and fugues in Leipzig. Some of these works received
nicknames, including the "Wedge."
Requiring about 15 minutes in performance, the "Wedge" eschews
traditional expectations for its musical form. Rather than an
improvisatory opening section with freedom in tempo, the Prelude keeps
a strict structure with four distinct ritornello sections and a steady
By contrast, despite clear ternary form, the fugue contains more of
the virtuosic improvisatory nature that one might expect from a
prelude. The first of the fugue's three sections offer a
self-contained fugue that includes exposition, modulations, and
episodes. The theme earned the piece's nickname of "Wedge" due to its
chromatic expansion on a tonic point. The second section follows in
the principle key with a 100-measure toccata that references the
subject, also echoed in the pedal material. The full subject's
restatement in the third section is a near-exact repetition of the
first section's exposition, uncommon in Bach's earlier works. The
concluding Picardy third ends the minor-mode work in E major.
As the longest of Bach's fugues with 231 measures, the Wedge remains perhaps his most challenging, and one of the greatest achievements in this musical form's history.
Be Thou My Vision (SLANE)
Tune: David Evans;
Translator: Mary Elizabeth Byrne;
Versifier: Eleanor Hull
Following the tradition of the Organ Historical Society, this recital
includes a hymn. Please stand and sing following the introduction.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping my treasure Thou art.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not nor vain empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance now and always.
Thou and Thou only first in my heart,
Great God of heaven my treasure Thou art.
Great God of heaven my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun,
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.
Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain, Op. 7. Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)
As the assistant to Louis Vierne at Notre-Dame, Maurice Duruflé quickly rose to success in the French organ tradition. Though known for a serious demeanor, he poured his emotions into compositions, once confessing to his wife that he wept during the writing of his Requiem.
While the assistant professor under Marcel Dupré at the Conservatoire de Paris, Duruflé met his wife, Marie-Madeleine. Maurice considered his wife to be the true virtuoso of the pair, and she continued to perform and teach master classes around the world following her husband's death in 1986. Recordings of Marie-Madeleine performing the Prelude & Fugue on "A.L.A.I.N." are available, as she still performed publicly until 1993.
This piece, composed in 1942, represents a memorial to a fallen friend and fellow organist Jehan Alain. By manipulating the musical alphabet, Duruflé symbolizes Alain in the notes ADAAF, resulting in a syncopated theme outlining the D minor triad embedded within the Prélude. The piece ends with a plaintive quote from Alain's Litanies with the flowing style of the Gregorian chants that influenced Duruflé during his career in the Catholic Church.
The increasingly mournful melody ends the prelude and leads directly to the fugal subject, also based on the musical equivalent of the letters ALAIN, which Duruflé treats with an exposition and development. A second subject appears in a form similar to the prelude, with sixteenth-note rhythms juxtaposed with the first fugue subject in the pedals. These two subjects contrapuntally combine toward a brilliant climax. Due to the shared theme in both movements, the piece represents an unusual monothematic prelude and fugue.
Though this musical memorial grieves the tragic irony of Alain's life cut short in battle just before French troops withdrew from World War II, the fugue's glorious ending ultimately illustrates the hope of resurrection, no doubt influenced by Duruflé's Catholic faith. Of Duruflé's music, Alain's sister Marie-Claire said in 2004, "It is a perfectly honest art". He did not seek to innovate; he was searching only to be sincere with himself."
Prelude and Fugue in F Minor - Rachel Laurin (b. 1961)
Recently, the organ works of Canadian composer Rachel Laurin have gained critical acclaim among professional organists, including the Winner of the Holtkamp-AGO Composition Award 2008. This winning piece, the Prelude and Fugue in F Minor, captured the attention of North American organists and embraces elements of Romanticism and Impressionism.
Canadian composers have only recently received acknowledgement in the international organ world. Vierne, Dupré, Duruflé and Widor shaped the emerging French-Canadian style, as Achille Fortier and others returned from France to Canada and taught at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal.
At 19, Laurin enrolled in the Conservatoire. Unlike many who compose organ music based on religious musical material, Laurin intends most of her compositions as solely "concert works." She has cited Canadian landscapes and orchestral performances as influences in her own pieces, comparing herself to Rachmaninoff in color and chromaticism.
The prelude opens with a melodic line specified to portray a singing
voice, and the other hand imitates this line while the pedal mostly
provides a drone and tonal center. After the first exposition and
development of the fugue subject, the prelude's improvisatory melody
appears again. The seamless combination not only creates another rare
monothematic prelude and fugue, but testifies to Laurin's contrapuntal
skills. Although the Prelude and Fugue in F Minor explores many
chromatic landscapes, often blurring the sense of tonality, both
sections settle in F-major chords.
About Amy Lauren Jones
A native of Slidell, LA, Amy earned a B.M. in organ performance at MS College with a stunning senior recital in 2015, and the present recital will complete a major requirement for the M.M. After beginning organ study with Dr. Robert Knupp, she joined Fondren Presbyterian Church as organist in January of 2015. Along the way she has won several awards, including 1st prize at the 1st Annual MS College Music Symposium (2015 and 2016), and the Clarence Dickinson Organ Competition (2013), further she won the Jackson chapter of the AGO Young Organist Competition (2015), and received a Biggs Fellowship from the Organ Historical Society. Currently, she serves as the accompanist at MC and Hinds Community College, officer and blog coordinator for the AGOYO Southeast, and the District Convener for the AGO in MS.