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Sun APR 3 at 7:30pm


Thomas Trotter

BACH  Toccata & Fugue in F, BWV 540 (c. 15 minutes)
MOZART  Adagio & Allegro, K. 594 (c. 10 minutes)
SCHUMANN Two Fugues on B.A.C.H. (Op. 60, Nos. 3 and 5) (c. 7 minutes)
JONATHAN DOVE  The Dancing Pipes (c. 9 minutes)
WIDOR Symphony No. 5, Op. 42, No. 1: 1. Allegro (c. 10 minutes)
DUKAS (ARR. TROTTER)  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (c. 12 minutes)
LISZT   Fantasia & Fugue on B.A.C.H. (c. 11 minutes)

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Born: 1685, Eisenach, Germany
Died: 1750, Leipzig, Germany

•  The opening movement of the Toccata and Fugue in F, BWV 540, commences abruptly like a perpetual-motion etude with endless and even exhausting 16th-note activity.

•  Long solo pedal passages favor more the organist’s technique with deft stomping than fluid use of heel and toe. After all these ideas are introduced, a grandiose development serves as the main substance of the work.

•  As its more subdued counterpart, the fugue is put together with a subject of slow and deliberate whole and half notes as if they were rudimentary building blocks. The chorale-like result quickly morphs into a steady texture of running eighth notes.

Listen to an excerpt | Read the complete program note


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Born: 1756, Salzburg, Austria
Died: 1791, Vienna, Austria

•  Because Mozart wrote his Adagio and Allegro, K. 594, for a mechanical organ (akin to a player piano), phrases and gestures are modelled more on fanfares and rote imitation than expressive melodies or development.

•  The work was eventually published as an organ piece – the mournful Adagio in F minor actually returns at the end creating an overall arch form, while the inner Allegro in F major presents a simple rounded binary form.

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Robert Schumann

Born: 1810, Zwickau, Germany
Died: 1856, Endenich, Germany

•  Schumann’s Six Fugues on the Name BACH, Op. 60, stands today as the only composition he wrote for organ – and he qualified this by stating that these fugues could also be performed on the experimental pedal piano of his day.

•  The third of Schumann’s fugues, slow and highly meditative, is in G minor and has been described as a “ricercar,” which in this sense is a sort of variation form. The fifth of these fugues takes on the character of a tarantella, although it has also been called a “scherzo.”

Listen to excerpts: Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2

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Jonathan Dove

Born: 1959, London, United Kingdom

•  Mostly known for his Britten-inspired operas, Jonathan Dove composed his whimsical The Dancing Pipes two years ago specifically for Trotter.

•  The premiere would take place at St. Laurence’s Church in Ludlow; Dove’s intention was to use the story of the martyrdom of St. Laurence from the third century to inspire musical ideas.

•  While improvising and trying to create melodic figures that might depict such an event, Dove stumbled upon an uncharacteristic dance-like melody that overtook him and became the primary idea – hence the title of the work.

Listen to excerpts from an album of Jonathan Dove’s choral music

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Charles-Marie Widor

Born: 1844, Lyon, France
Died: 1937, Paris, France

•  As a theme and seven variations, the opening Allegro vivace movement from the Fifth Organ Symphony by Widor proceeds predictably according to the traditional musical form.

•  In the fourth variation, the tempo gets slower, only to become livelier in the fifth “scherzando” variation. The final two variations bring the cycle to a large and loud conclusion.

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Paul Dukas

Born: 1865, Paris, France
Died:  1935, Paris, France

•  Dukas’ most famous tone poem, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, carefully and faithfully depicts many details in the 1797 ballade by Goethe (Die Zauberlehrling).

•  Dukas used as his inspiration brooms coming to life, fetching water in buckets to prepare a bath, and the overriding theme of how the apprentice may think he is ready to be the master, but the master still knows better.

Listen to an excerpt of another organist's transcription | Read the complete program note


Franz Liszt

Born: 1811, Raiding, Hungary
Died: 1886, Bayreuth, Germany

•  Among Liszt’s most famous works for organ, the Fantasy and Fugue on BACH takes up the challenge to use Bach’s famous moniker in a musical way.

•  Liszt begins by overtly spelling out B-A-C-H in an ostinato in the pedals. Loud, thick chords followed by rapid scales and arpeggios combine, develop, and expand into a peripatetic declamatory style.

•  Although the Fantasy actually does move whimsically from one idea to the next, Liszt takes the four-note idea seriously as an anchor melody that frequently stands on its own.

•  The Fugue subject adds more to the four-note idea to construct a more usable melody, but still creates a highly chromatic harmony.

Listen to an excerpt | Read the complete program note

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