The upcoming concert on March 8th, co-sponsored by Trinity College, offers us the rare treat of music for organ and orchestra. Quite a few people indicated on last spring’s survey that this would interest them so here it is! Two soloists from our Greater Hartford Chapter, Ezequiel Menéndez and Natasha Ulyanovsky, will collaborate with musicians from the New Haven area in performances of organ concerti by Francis Poulenc and Josef Rheinberger.
Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings is one of the most frequently heard works of the genre not written in the Baroque period. It was commissioned in 1934 by Princess Edmond de Polignac, and was originally intended to be a simple work with an easy organ part for the princess to play. Poulenc quickly abandoned this idea and the work took on a more serious, ambitious tone. Poulenc, who had never before written for the organ, studied the great organ works of Bach and Buxtehude and also received instrumental advice from Maurice Duruflé, who was soloist in the first performances. During the time when Poulenc was writing the concerto he rediscovered his Christian faith and began writing religious music; this influence can be felt in the organ concerto.
Rheinberger’s Concerto No. 1 in F Major seldom receives a performance these days. Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) was a precocious talent, serving a parish church at the age of seven (!) and going on to study at the Munich Conservatory where he later became professor of organ, piano and composition. He became a highly respected teacher; his more famous students include Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Engelbert Hump- erdinck and Horatio Parker. Although Rheinberger was a prolific composer of choral works, operas, symphonies and instrumental works, he is remembered today for his many challenging organ compositions, written in a style which blends the warmth of German romanticism with skillful counterpoint and rich texture.
Don’t pass up the chance to hear these works performed in concert at the Trinity College Chapel, 300 Summit St., Hartford. This very special AGO event begins at 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 8, 2014. A free will offering will be received.