Thursday, December 19, 2013
"Why the Chimes Rang" (Dinda-Alden) presented by DC Church on new organ for Christmas
The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC held a short Christmas celebration with the small Wednesday night congregation sitting in the chancel, facing the organ, on Dec. 18.
The highlight of the program was the 25-minute narrated organ piece, “Why the Chimes Rang”, with music by Robin Dinda, performed by Lawrence P. Schreiber on the Austin Organ, with Rev, Deborah Cochran reading the children’s story by Raymond MacDonald Alden (1909).
The story presents a fantasy setting, with a huge cathedral at the entrance of a walled city, and a spire thousands of feet high, with chimes that no one remembers hearing. The descriptions of the countryside rather remind me of one of the dominions in Clive Barker’s “Imajica” (or perhaps of Toilken). A little boy helps a homeless woman outside the city, and takes her donation to the service which, given after all the gaudy gifts in the style of the Magi, is met by the chimes ringing. It is a setting of the “widow’s coin” parable. The music has some fugal settings of carols, but ends with a very French-sounding triumphant close in E Major, after the organ plays the mysterious chimes.
The service had started with an intermixing of two organ preludes based on “In Dulci Jublio” by Marcel Dupre and Paul Manz. The Dupre was not as loud as the composer usually is, and the Manz again played with a fugue.