Organ Concerts at Christ Church Fundraiser
Please join us for the first organ concert of the 2016/2017 season on Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 pm, with Merry Phillips, Music Director and Organist at Christ Episcopal Church, performing works from the Baroque to the 21st-century. The concert is being given as a fundraiser for the concert series, which was established in 2008, shortly after the installation of the church’s Kegg pipe organ. The concert series promotes and celebrates great literature for the pipe organ, adding to the vibrant artistic culture of the Northcoast. The suggested donation for the concert is $10. The church is located on the corner of 15th and H Streets in Eureka. Off-street parking is available at the corner of 14th and G Streets. Handicapped accessible entrance is on 15th Street, between G and H Streets.
The concert will open with a “Processional” by Welsh composer William Mathias, perhaps known most famously for the choral work he wrote for the royal wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The first movement of the Trio Sonata No. 6, by J.S. Bach, was composed as part of a set of sonatas for the instruction of his talented first son. It presents the idea of the organ as an instrumental ensemble – each of the three voices a different instrument. A set of variations on the Norwegian folktune “O how Glory shall it be for the Children of God,” by Norwegian composer Bjarne Slogedal, begins with a four-part setting of the tune (in the tradition of Bach) and continues with variations on the melody of the song, using different and contrasting sounds on the organ, including a variation titled “Langeleik” – a Norwegian zither-like folk instrument, which the organ will imitate.
French organist and composer Jehan Alain’s opus of work, despite a career cut short by his death in World War II, makes him one of the most notable composers of his era. His music is influenced by Claude Debussy and Olivier Messiaen as well as his personal interest in the music, dance and philosophies of the far east. The piece “Litanies,” perhaps his best known work, begins with a plainsong phrase which is repeated continually throughout the piece. Alain’s sister, Marie-Claire Alain, describes the piece as “one long cry of despair.”
“Veni, Creator Spiritus” (Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire) is a hymn believed to have been written in the 9th century. Originally in Latin, and sung in Gregorian chant, it is an invocation of the Holy Spirit. American composer Libby Larsen’s flowing meditation on this tune was written as a commission for an anthology of organ music to be used for part of the liturgical year of the church. In contrast, British composer Paul Leddington Wright has set the same tune in a completely different style, introducing it with a loud fanfare and creating a dance-like effect with the use of a “Rumba” rhythm. Both of these living composers have transformed this beautiful hymn from the 9th century, into unique and wonderful 21st century compositions.
With a nod to Halloween, the concert will conclude with Léon Boëllmann’s French Romantic “Suite Gothique,” op. 55, composed in 1895. The final (fourth) movement, a Toccata, is the best-known of the suite, and is often played for Halloween concerts. All the stops will be pulled out for the ending!
Merry Phillips currently serves as the Organist and Choir Director at Christ Episcopal Church. She took her first organ class with Robert Murphy as a high school student at the Interlochen Arts Summer Camp in Michigan. Ms. Phillips thanks her first teacher, Kenneth Hart at Emporia State University in Kansas, for inspiring her to continue her study of the organ and guiding her to St. Olaf College, where she studied organ for four years. She holds a B.A. in Music History from St. Olaf College, and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan (AMLS Library Science), and Hamline University in St. Paul, MN (M.A. Liberal Studies). Retired from a career as an academic librarian, and as an administrative support coordinator for the University Senate at Humboldt State University, she is enjoying devoting more time to musical endeavors. She and her husband Dan have lived on the Northcoast since 1998.
Please join us on October 30 for an entertaining concert and fundraiser for the concert series! For directions or questions visit: https://christchurcheureka.org/contact/