Two virtuosos, one concert: ‘Organ Showcase,’ Morristown, Oct. 13

Organist Alan Morrison


From the Presbyterian Church in Morristown:

The Presbyterian Church in Morristown presents an organ showcase this Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, pairing former classmates from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music: Organist Alan Morrison and Steinway Artist Min Kwon on piano.

Showtime is 3 pm, and admission is $30; free for youths under 18. A reception with the artists follows the concert, at 57 East Park Place.

The program includes works by Bach, Liszt and Franck.

Morrison offers these reflections:

“I find sharing music to be celebratory in many ways. In a way, this recital celebrates the reunion of two musicians who trained together at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Pianist Min Kwon

“Opening with “Fête” by the great French composer, Jean Langlais, seems fitting given the title which translates into celebration. This gifted blind composer weaves jazzy rhythms and harmonies into a bravura showpiece featuring the tutti of the organ and more colorful combinations capturing a festive mood.

“No organ recital is complete without music of J.S. Bach, and even though this is not an original composition for organ, it shows his skill in adapting works by composers he admired to be played on The King of Instruments.

“The Concerto in A Minor is originally a work for two violins by Antonio Vivaldi. Bach was fond of the Italian concerto form, Fast-Slow-Fast, and went on to compose numerous works in this form in the same instrumental style.

“Maurice Duruflé was not a prolific composer but every piece that flowed from his pen is powerful and spiritual. His Scherzo, opus 2 features the bubbly textures of the flutes and flows along briskly and effortlessly. Closing the organ solo portion of the program is the show-stopper “Pageant” by the American composer, Leo Sowerby.

“This work is heavily dominated by pedal passages with feet dancing across the pedal board in one hurdle after another. The delightful theme is developed through a set of variations exploiting the vast color combinations of the organ.

“Closing the program are two works for piano and organ. César Franck, who was a predecessor to Langlais at St. Clotilde in Paris, wrote his Prelude, Fugue & Variation for piano and harmonium.  It was later adapted by the composer for organ solo and remains a major part of the repertoire.

“The Hungarian Rhapsody #2 by Franz Liszt is one of the most recognizable works in the piano repertoire and has been adapted to many instrumental combinations over the years to be featured in movies, commercials and cartoons! This adaptation shows both organ and piano as equal partners making it a virtuoso vehicle for the performers.

“Music is a lifelong journey and having this opportunity to combine forces after forging solo and collaborative careers is a happy occasion to come full circle since our school days at Curtis.”

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