Sunday, February 19, 2012

Local Arlington Church presents overlooked Russian composer; a note about Percy Fletcher; also, 30 Hour Famine

Today, the Trinity Presbyterian Church of Arlington VA presented an a cappella anthem by a curiously obscure Russian “nationalistic” romantic composer, Alexander Kopylov, who actually wrote one big symphony in C minor that is on an obscure CD that costs $40. He was also a violinist. He was never able to get into a conservatory but studied privately with Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov.  The piece was “Heavenly Light”, and Alice Mattullath and Wilhousky also share some credit.

Gustav Mahler (yesterday’s post) had called the solo song that makes the fourth movement of his Second Symphony “Primeval Light” (“Urlicht”).

The orchestral postlude, played by Carol Feather Martin, was the lively minor-keyed fast-waltz-like "Tocaata on 'Deo Gracias'" by Michael Burkhardt, a loud piece that got an applause.  It reminded me of the “Festival  Toccata” by Percy Fletcher, British composer, with its famous theme “C-B-C-B-E-D-E-D-“, that ought to have been in the running for the William-Katherine wedding.  The piece jumped into mind suddenly. I had heard it in Charlotte, NC back around Easter in 1955 when I was 11, on a visit to family friends (wo would play a curious, if accidental, role later in my William and Mary fiasco in 1961). I remember watching the organist play it. 

In this YouTube video, the unidentified organist could use the iPad to make turning pages of music easier. You will recognize the staccato-like theme a bit into the video. 

There was mention today of the teenagers’ project, the “30 Hour Famine” the last weekend of February, this year based on the famine in the Horn of Africa (web site).  I’m not sure that the “sacrifice” is really necessary, but that’s another discussion. I remember money being raised for this a couple years ago there, and then last year during the “Fast” the teenagers made a short film “Friday’s Aliens” ( review Feb. 27, 2011 on Movie’s blog). Today the teens did “Clark-Kent-speed-tricks” moving between the balcony and the Bell Choir up front, breaking the laws of physics.  I believe that the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington has done the famine some years, usually before Thanksgiving.

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