Sunday, April 15, 2012

Local church youth concert adds unusual organ piece by John Rutter


The Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA continues its program of music, and today offered a combined Youth Choir service, merging with a similar choir from Ardmore Presbyterian Church near Philadelphia, directed by Gary Garletts. 

The height of the service may have been the “duet organ postude”, “Variations on an Easter Theme”, by John Rutter, better known for his “kinder and gentler” Requiem.  The duet was played by Gary Garletts and Carol Feather Martin.  The piece is boisterous, with a bit of polytonality, not as sweet as a lot of Rutter’s other music.

The highlights of the youth music probably were the setting of the traditional Zambian “Bonse Aba”, which does not have the vocal clicks but is definitely African.

There was an  ensemble piece for two flutes, piano, guitar and choirs, “Guardame, Senor” as Benediction. 

There were five anthems:  “Where You Need Me”, by Mark Patterson;  “Praise the Rock of Our Salvation”, by Fanny Crosby and Aaron David Miller; “Blessed Are They”,  by Phil Speary and John Leavitt; “Lord of the Dance”, by Sydney Carter and Donald Waxman;  and “God Is Our Refuge and Strength”, based on Psalm 46, by Jay Johnson and Allen Pote.

Trinity says that it supports mission work in the South Sudan, the Congo, northern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.


I couldn’t find my Rutter Requiem CD quickly, but I pulled out the Chandos 1989 recording with Margaret Fingerhut, piano, and Vernon Handley conducting the Ulster Orchestra and the Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.  It’s filled with familiar themes and is said to be inspired by Rachmaninoff’s 2nd in the same key, although the piano writing is more Brahmsian. The piece is long, 39 min. Stanford does adopt the Rachmaninoff concept of combining scherzo and finale, and borrows the slow movement subject again in the finale; but he does not build a “big tune” out of a second subject, instead preferring to take the scherzo theme itself back to major. 

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