Bouquet on the Skyscraper: Bach’s Ornamentation and Our Era
Handout 2 – Cases
This presentation reviews: the relation between the ornament’s character and tempo as a new tool of understanding text; Marpurg’s writings on the structural role of ornaments; metrics, character of Bachian ornaments, and their role in determining tempo; and conflicts between our tempo feeling and the tempo suggested by the ornaments—the dialectic struggle of instinct and intellect in the interpretation of the signs. The presentation includes case studies from Bach’s organ works, demonstrating the problems at hand.
Sebestyen Nyiro’s credentials include: B.A., M.M., M.A., Sc.L., pianist, organist, translator, and editor. He is a DMA candidate at the University of Connecticut, M.S.M. candidate at both Boston and Zurich universities, and MBA candidate at Providence College. He has held positions at St. Matthew Lutheran Church (Avon, Connecticut), St. Mary and St. Ann Roman Catholic parishes (New Britain, Connecticut), and Holy Trinity UMC (Danvers, Massachusetts), and is currently organist at Thomaskirche, Basel, Switzerland. His annotated translation of Hans Klotz’s book on Bach’s ornamentation was published in Hungary in 2011. Television and radio broadcasts (DCAT, MTV Budapest, Telebasel, WMNR Fine Arts Radio/CT, MR Budapest) give account of his work. New York Concert Review compare his “unusual, compelling new recording” of Bach’s Goldberg Variations to those of Gould’s and Arrau’s, describing him as “supreme talent.” As a chamber musician, he works with Alexandre Dubach, Mark Varshavsky, P.-L. Graf, and the Balkanyi Quartet.
Algorithms and Other Sacred Systems: Cage-ian Concepts in Music Liturgy
Ethnomusicologists, after decades of neglect, have begun to recognize American Protestant musical terrain as fertile ground for study. A scholarly focus has emerged, taking on vernacular and popular musics within either traditional worship models (interventionist) or as separate, “contemporary” services (separatist). This paper cuts in a different direction. Are there music practices that have been relegated to an invisible status? If so, might they have some purchase in the sanctuary? This paper submits that the rich corpus of system musics—those associated with the Cage school and Tom Johnson—are rife for deployment in liturgy, and indeed -have been always.
Brian Parks, AAGO, M.A., is minister of music at First Church of Christ, Suffield (UCC). He is the only person in the history of Wesleyan University’s music department to successfully defend two separate master’s theses, the first in composition and the second in ethnomusicology. His second thesis takes up his experience as Organist and Music Director at Higganum Congregational Church, where he came onto the staff despite being a Reformed Jew and having no mainline Protestant music background. His compositions have been performed nationally and internationally, and he has given organ concerts in the United States and abroad. He is a certified childbirth educator and teaches Bradley Method classes with his spouse, ballet dancer and percussionist Janet Simone Parks. He has lectured or presented papers at IRCAM (Paris), Ripon College Cuddesdon (Oxford University), Wesleyan University, Conservatoire de Lille, and the annual conference of the La Leche League of Connecticut.
Eisaburo Kioka: The First Japanese Organist in New England
This paper focuses on pioneering Japanese organist Eisaburo Kioka’s (1895–1982) enlightening study-abroad experience in New England (1920–1924). He studied organ with Henry Dunham, Harry Jepson, and Seth Bingham at New England Conservatory and Yale and Columbia universities, respectively, prior to studies with Vierne and Widor in Paris. Based on previously undocumented primary sources found in the Kioka Reference Room in Tokyo, including original programs from concerts by leading organists of the time, including Jepson, Bingham, Farnam, Dupré, and Widor, the paper examines the American influence on pre-World War II Japanese organ history through Kioka’s pioneering work upon his return.
Mariko Morita, a native of Japan, holds Bachelor of Music, Master of Sacred Music, and Doctor of Music degrees in organ performance from Seton Hill, Emory, and Indiana universities, respectively, and performer’s certificates from the International Summer Academy in Leipzig. She has performed numerous recitals in the United States, Germany, and Japan, and her performances can be heard on NPR’s Pipedreams. Recent performances at Cornell University included the renowned University Chorus and Glee Club. Her research on the first Japanese organist, Eisaburo Kioka, was the featured article in a recent scholarly publication of the Japan Organ Society. A former music intern at West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, she was most recently the music director of Christ Episcopal Church in Corning, New York. Previously a visiting assistant professor of organ at Texas A&M International University (2006–2008), she is currently adjunct professor of music at the University of Northern Iowa.
Teaching Sacred Music at Public Universities
A recent study of sacred music programs in public universities across the United States examines current pedagogical practices, compares these practices with the curriculum standards set by the National Association of Schools of Music and the Association of Theological Schools, and suggests curricular changes needed to meet the unique educational needs of today’s sacred music students. It covers select undergraduate programs and each of the six Master’s level programs at public universities—those of East Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan.
Jonathan Hehn, OSL, is a musician and liturgist currently serving Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida. He holds degrees in music from the Florida State University (BM, DM), and theology from the University of Notre Dame (MSM). He also holds the Choirmaster certificate of the American Guild of Organists. You can find him on Facebook.
Expressive qualities of mode in André Raison’s Premier Livre d’Orgue
A remarkable number of seventeenth-century French treatises describe the affective characteristics of the modes—particularly with reference to plainchant. Were the writers of these theoretical works merely describing a traditional system of meaning, or were these expressive qualities given consideration and written into newly composed works, such as alternatim organ versets? With reference to chant volumes edited by Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers (c. 1632–1714), and plainchant musical by Henry Du Mont (c. 1610–1684), this presentation highlights qualities in selected movements from André Raison’s Premier Livre d’Orgue (1688) that might show evidence of allegiance to the tradition of expressive modal characteristics.
Neil Cockburn is head of Organ Studies at Mount Royal University Conservatory and artistic director of the Calgary Organ Festival. He won First Prize at the 1996 Dublin International Organ Competition and has received numerous other prestigious awards, including the W.T. Best Memorial Organ Scholarship (UK), a scholarship from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust (UK), and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize. As an organ soloist, he has given an all-encompassing spectrum of recitals on a wide range of instrument types, from all-Bach recitals on historically inspired organs to symphonic programs on Romantic instruments to concerts of entirely new works. He received his musical education at Oxford University (B.A. Honors, music); the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (Mus.M., organ performance, and the Professional Performance diploma, PPRNCM); the Conservatoire National de Région Rueil-Malmaison, France (Premier prix de perfectionnement); and the University of Calgary (Ph.D., musicology).
The Organ Music of Guenther Schuller
One of America’s greatest living composers, Boston-based Guenther Schuller (b.1925) has made substantial, yet little-known contributions to the solo organ and choral repertoires (some of it is associated with previous AGO conventions). This workshop introduces his dynamic music, influenced by both the Second Viennese School and jazz, through audio and score-analysis examples, placing it in the larger context of his work and twentieth-century American music.
Aaron Sunstein is currently pursuing his Doctor of Music degree in organ at Indiana University, where he studies with Christopher Young. As associate instructor for the organ department, he teaches organ lessons and organ literature. He also serves as organist of St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Bloomington. His previous teachers have been Gary Verkade, Delbert Disselhorst, and Michael Kleinschmidt. He has been a prizewinner at the Rodland Competition and the Twin Cities AGO/Schubert Club Competition. Engaged in all periods of organ repertoire, he is involved in a long-term project performing, writing about, and recording Gunther Schuller’s organ music.
Performing Organ Works on the Bayan Accordion
The bayan is an instrument that has a similar design and operating principal to the accordion, the most notable difference being in the design of the right-hand keyboard: instead of the piano-like keys of the accordion, the bayan has five rows of buttons. Since the bayan is a relatively new instrument (1870), transcriptions of works for various other instruments play an important role in its repertoire. The repertoire that lends itself particularly well for bayan transcriptions is that of the pipe organ because of their similarities in design and sound production.
Marko Petricic holds DMA and M.M. degrees from Indiana University, where he studied with Dr. Christopher Young. He teaches organ and sacred music at the University of Indianapolis and is music associate/organist at Northminster Presbyterian Church. He has won numerous organ competitions awards, most notably First Prize at the San Marino National Organ Competition. He was twice a jury member for the Fort Wayne National Organ Competition. His recital at the 2008 Organ Historical Society National Convention was highly praised in The Diapason. His organ recording French Accent was released by Pro Organo in 2009. As an accomplished bayan-accordion performer, he has won awards at International competitions in Italy, Germany, Yugoslavia, and the United States. He has performed for the Yugoslav National Radio and Television and with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Naples Philharmonic. He is represented by Crimson Concert Artists.
Practical Aspects of Teaching Tournemire’s Improvisatory Style
“A musician who possesses the ability to create spontaneously…the sonorous monument establishes as he/she goes along … with logic and fantasy sometimes, the illusion of something written and in the inspired moments—the flashes which belong only to this manifestation coming from the head and the heart. “ This quote from Tournemire’s Précis d’éxécution, de registration et d’improvisation à l’orgue introduces his esthetic of improvisation. This research paper explores practical aspects of Tournemire’style of improvisation and approach to teaching. I use recorded examples to show: Introduction to Variae Preces; Tournemire’s harmony; Improvisation of an Offertoire; a Sortie (Postlude); and a Communion.
Ann Labounsky, Ph.D., FAGO, Ch.M., is chair of Organ and Sacred Music at Duquesne University, where she oversees undergraduate and graduate programs in sacred music. An active member of the American Guild of Organists, the National Pastoral Musicians, and the Church Music Association of America, she has worked as director of the National Committee on Improvisation and Councillor for Education for the Guild. Author of a biography of Langlais, Jean Langlais: the Man and His Music, she has recorded the complete organ works of Langlais for the Musical Heritage Society, recently released on Voix de Vent Recordings, and recently narrated and performed in a DVD of his life based on this biography, a project sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of the Guild.
God Among Us: A Theological Analysis of Olivier Messiaen’s La Nativité
Olivier Messiaen’s faith profoundly influenced his compositions. The compositional techniques systematically outlined in his treatise, The Technique of My Musical Language, provide the musical foundation for his works, but, more importantly, serve the theological bent of his creativity. This paper examines his musical language through a theological lens, exploring his modes of limited transposition, exploration of birdsong, numerological and color signification, use of plainchant, and incorporation of Greek and Indian rhythms (desitalas) in La Nativité du Seigneur (1935). This work is incredibly rich with theological symbolism, and understanding the symbolism enhances our interaction with this landmark organ composition.
Melissa Plamann, DMA, is the Wanda L. Bass Chair of Organ and associate professor of music at Oklahoma City University’s Bass School of Music. She also serves as interim organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church. She holds organ performance degrees from Valparaiso University and Emory University, and was awarded her Doctor of Musical Arts from Indiana University, Bloomington. She maintains an active performing schedule, and particularly enjoys programming twentieth- and twenty-first-century works and collaborative pieces featuring other instruments with the organ. She is the education chairperson for the Oklahoma City AGO chapter, and an Executive Board member of the Oklahoma Alliance for Liturgy and the Arts, a nonprofit organization that fosters liturgical art and encourages creative collaboration between artists, religious groups, and the larger community. She is a strong advocate of integrating global music in congregational worship, and has published a series of online articles for Augsburg Fortress on the topic.
Hyperorgan Technology, Augmented Reality, and the Triumph of Acoustic Music
Advances in computing power have allowed us to integrate technology more seamlessly into our everyday analog lives, moving from “virtual” to “augmented” reality. These advances have also initiated renewed interest in acoustic music-making. Organ builders in France, Germany, and Sweden have integrated digital control technology into acoustic, even mechanical, organs in ways that augment their analog affordances, creating so-called “hyperorgans.” Such examples illustrate how the application of digital technology to the organ does not inevitably lead to electronic organs, but rather to more expressive, versatile, and purely acoustic pipe organs worthy of a central role in twenty-first-century music.
Performer-scholar Randall Harlow’s expertise includes empirical performance research, the Inuit organ tradition, hyperorgan technology, and twenty-first-century avant-garde. He has presented at conferences at Harvard University, Cornell University, Westfield Center, the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Göteborg International Organ Art Center (GOArt), and Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative Festival. Past research includes the first study of the pipe organ culture of Greenland. He currently serves on the AGO Committee for New Music Competitions and Commissions. His numerous premieres include compositions by John Anthony Lennon, Kaikhosru Sorabji, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, concertos by Petr Eben, Tilo Medek, and Giles Swayne, and works with live electronics by Steve Everett, Steven Rice, and René Uijlenhoet. His forthcoming debut recording features a transcription of Franz Liszt’s legendary Études d’Exécution Transcendante. He holds a DMA from the Eastman School of Music and is currently visiting professor of organ and music theory at the University of Northern Iowa.