Sunday, November 03, 2013

Washington Church dedicates its new Austin organ; Parry hymn performed

I got to the church on time – just in time, as I did dwaddle this morning over some computer problems – to hear the huge Austin organ scream out the opening of Sir Hubert Parry’s “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me”, as sing this morning by the Chancel Choir of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC with organ.  I reviewed that May 14, 2011 as part of a set of Parry anthems with organ, but we all know the magnificence of it at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, with full orchestra.  But the final C Major chords screamed out from the organ with mighty trumpets from the back.
Parry wrote five symphonies, and the best known may be the Third, the English, whose last movement, a C Major Theme and Variations telescopes and ends with a mighty stretto, reminding one of Brahms. (Try it on YouTube here ).
The church performed a Dedication of the Organ at the 11 AM service.
The service included two organ pieces by Dennis Janzer (1954-), and a postlude apparently composed by organist Lauren P. Schreiber himself, a Fantasia on the St. Anne theme, richly chromatic with lots of weighty chords suggestive of the music of Arnold Bax.  The fantasy is loosely based on the hymn tune for “Oh Lord Our Help In Ages Past”, also sung right before communion this “All Saints” Sunday, and in the past always sung the first Sunday in January every year.
Schreiber also composed a hymn “In a City Just Beginning” in 2002, in G Major (third verse harmonized in G Minor), with words by Jim Sommerville. 

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