PipeChat Digest #3554 - Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Latry at St. Ignatius - March 16, 2003
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>

(back) Subject: Latry at St. Ignatius - March 16, 2003 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2003 01:53:46 -0500   Olivier Latry at St. Ignatius Loyola, Sunday, March 16th, 2003       Dear Lists and Friends,       While government cafeterias in Washington pride themselves on their effete little gesture, renaming French Fries and French Toast "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast," which would be funny were it not so unfunny, the good = folks of "Sacred Music in a Sacred Space" at St. Ignatius Loyola acted like grownups, and took part in a city-wide festival called "Sounds French." Details at: www.soundsfrench.com and details about music at St. Ignatius at: www.saintignatiusloyola.org Well, Kent Tritle, who grows in stature daily as a stand up comic, in his introduction said: We will have French Fantasies, French Finals, French Concerti, and French Improvisation. That was not his exact list, which I can't remember, but it will do, and the emphasis was always on the French! This was lost on no one - laughter = began to take hold by the second item, and there was tumultuous applause at the end.       Olivier Latry gave us a complete Messiaen cycle in six concerts here some time ago, and now he gave us the Apparition de l'Eglise eternelle, a truly superb beginning! With its wonderful sustained shifting harmonies and immense unbroken intensity, this was like an excellent proofing of the = Organ for first time visitors to the church. I did hear a great deal of French being spoken, so the church would seem to have made some new friends this night and this week.       Next, an improvisation of Tournemire, transcribed by Maurice Durufle - Petite rhapsodie improvisee. (Yes, I miss the diacriticals too.) This lovely piece was indeed petite - quite short, and it just bubbled along cheerfully, certainly remarkable as an improvisation.       For some reason, I don't think I have ever heard the First Fantasie of Alain. Is it actually played a lot? It is a superb piece, without the serenity of the Second, except in its quiet closing section.       Deuxieme Fantasie - Alain. Talk about evocative. With each hearing of this complex and lyrical work, its beauties become more clear.       Closing the first half of the program, Final d'Evocation - Marcel Dupre, another exciting piece new to me. I recall one amazing section, in which the right hand is playing on the Voix Humaine with Tremulant of the fourth keyboard, the Petit Recit, which sounds down the nave from a modest sized box with shutters on three sides at the very top of the Organ, right under the ceiling. The left hand is burbling along rapidly, fairly low on a = clear Flute registration. That was just part of the magic of this piece.       Intermission       The second part of the concert gave me my first tastes of music by Thierry Escaich (b. 1965), now Organist of St-Etienne-du-mont (the Durufle = church). Evocation 1 - Begins with a fascinating long monody, covering a wide bit = of the keyboard range, reappearing in a second section between sections in = two parts with a quite sparkling registrations. There follows a louder section building on the previous material, growing in volume. All ends quietly = with the opening monody with interpolations of the sparkly bits.       Evocation 2 has tremendous locomotion from a repeated pedal note, later in octaves, continuing relentlessly. It builds and builds with the ostinato also played in the manuals, to a tremendously powerful ending.       Vincent Paulet (b. 1962) is a new name to me. I Googled him and found a small biographical site, and succumbed to intellectual weakness and = clicked on "translate this site." Glad I did! I learned that M. Paulet is type-setter in residence to the Theatre de la Renaissance d'Oullins, and also that with Michel Merlet, he studied "running away!" (Compositeur =3D composer, not type-setter, in context. Running away is, of course, Fugue!) We heard "Elegie," which surprisingly, began rather bouncily, but later became suitably elegiac.       Born in 1947, Jean-Louis Florentz is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Conservatoire in Lyons. We heard two pieces from a set of seven, called Laudes, based on the Ethiopian Matins Liturgy. Chant des fleurs is a delicate little work, characterized by bubbly, rocking motions in the hands - a lovely piece.       Rempart de la Croix is perhaps slightly medieval with quiet parallel 4ths       Last on the program was the Final from the First Sonata of Jean-Pierre Leguay, who shares the bench at Notre Dame with Olivier Latry. This is a = big piece, beginning with a strong Pedal melody with big reeds, possibly a cantus firmus that I could not recognize, with great trilly warblings in the hands. Then, there was a rather pointillistic pecking at quite = dissonant clusters. Later, the deep Pedal cantus-like notes became much more insistent, with lots of wiggling going on in the manuals. The Pedal grew, = as did the wiggling going on in the manuals, now somewhat loud and shrill. Then, the keys were struck rapidly with the flats of both hands - would we have noticed without the projection screen in front, upon which we could watch the artist at the helm?       After the applause died down and the standing ovationers became seated, = Kent Tritle took to the podium again, and announced that at Intermission, = Olivier had said he would really like to do an improvisation on a given theme, at the end. The audience clearly required an encore, and so it came to pass. The theme was timely and apt, <Da Pacem>, the Introit to the Mass for = Peace. As Rodney mentioned in a posting shortly after the concert, while Kent = sang the chant (most beautifully), Olivier began to punctuate it with short, soft, 16' Pedal notes, and later, with yet more - in other words, as Kent sang, the improvisation had already begun, and so it continued in great brilliance, all informed by the rock solid plainsong melody. What a magnificent evening it brought to an end!       Tonight, they will be lining up early to get into another concert with Olivier Latry, the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola, conducted = by Kent Tritle and Aaron Smith, Andrew Henderson, Organist, and Francoise Pellie-Murail playing the Ondes Martenot. On Friday evening, a solo Organ recital by Theirry Escaich.       Excitedly yours,       Malcolm Wechsler   www.mander-organs.com