While I don't think it was QUITE as much fun as Robert Ampt and Amy Johansen, Monday evening's concert, July 27th, 1998, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, featuring Joyce Jones, was still a very enjoyable evening. Once again, if you happened to spot a nerdly-looking fellow in a white PIPORG-L golf shirt, with a pair of 7x50 binoculars, it was me.
Information on the organ, and its concert series, can be found at the Spreckels Organ Society web site, http://www.sosorgan.com/
Dr. Jones began the program, after organ curator Lyle Blackington had given the usual welcoming speech, with the Finale, from Widor's eighth organ symphony. I must remember to get a CD of that one; it was delightful.
Next on the program was a work-in-progress, Dr. Jones' own unaccompanied organ solo arrangement of Handel's thirteenth organ concerto (the "Cuckoo and the Nightingale" concerto). Absolutely fascinating how she used the more imitative stops for the orchestral parts. While it was not quite a finished arrangement (a fact driven home by the fact that Dr. Jones, who customarily plays from memory, used a score), it was quite enjoyable.
Dr. Jones followed that with the Bach "Great" Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532, and finished with the Litaize Prelude et Danse Fuguee (playing the Litaize from a score, partly because it was relatively new to her repertoire, but also to prove [as she put it, in her delightful Texas drawl] that she wasn't making it up.)
During intermission, Dr. Jones had changed from the purple dress and silver organ shoes she'd worn during the first half into a red dress, and gold organ shoes. As everybody returned to their seats, she began a lengthy explanation of Reger's Fantasy and Fugue on "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," the first work on the second half, an introduction that included playing fragments of it to give the audience some help finding their way around the work. I found the Fantasy somewhat heavier than what Bach and Krebs had done on "Wachet Auf," but thoroughly enjoyed the Fugue.
This was followed by Myron Roberts' "Pastorale and Aviary," a piece that included a whole plethora of birdcalls. The final work on the program was Leo Sowerby's "Pageant." For those who don't know the piece, it is quite exciting, and loaded with tricky pedal solos, with the feet in posession of the tune more than the hands. Definitely another one to add to my CD collection; I wonder who's recorded it.
For her encore, Dr. Jones performed a piece called "Song of the Clock." A bit theatrical for my taste, but not unpleasantly so.
No question about it; Dr. Jones must love pedal solos even more than she obviously enjoys speaking to the audience. That much would be obvious enough from the Bach and the Sowerby, among other things, but is only reinforced by her choice of footgear: I can't imagine an organist wearing gilded organ shoes unless she wanted to call attention to her pedaling (as if she needed to!).
Copyright © James H. H. Lampert, 1998
Revised Thursday, November 19, 2015
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