The concert, performed by CSU Organ Professor Joel Bacon with the CSU Sinfonia conducted by Wes Kenney, is for anyone who wants to hear and to be overwhelmed by grand organ sonorities. In talking about the event, Joel Bacon said, “The sound in the room is going to be (insert adjective here that best coincides with Dr. Bacon’s expressive hand motions and face)!” His enthusiasm for the instrument and it’s repertoire is contagious.
The program is the best introduction to the organ concerto that an audience could hope for with the best of each genre – Baroque, Romantic, and contemporary – all on one program. “Hearing the Sinfonia on stage with the pipe organ is going to be super thrilling, and I might collapse on the keys with exhaustion at the end,” said Bacon. This is a concert you won’t want to miss!
George Frideric Handel – Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op. 7 No. 1
Handel, who wrote the first organ concertos, played these compositions himself during oratorio intermissions and other concerts that featured orchestral works. This one is unusual as it is the only Baroque concerto that requires pedals; it can be assumed that Handel must have had an especially wonderful pipe organ!
Joseph Rheinberger – Organ Concerto No. 1 in F major, Op. 137
Joseph Rheinberger must be considered Lichtenstein’s most important composer, however, he lived in Munich, and was sought after as a composition teacher. Known for organ and choral works, this is the first major organ concerto of the Romantic era. This beautiful, tuneful, and lyric work is typically orchestrated for the time; the piece only utilizes strings and horns, allowing the organ to play the role of the wind instruments.
Francis Poulenc – Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings in G minor
Counted as the greatest organ concerto of the 20th century, the piece was commissioned by Princesse Edmond de Polignac, the heiress of the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, to be premiered by Maurice Durufle on her mansion’s pipe organ (during one of her renowned parties). Poulenc had recently converted to Catholicism, and the concerto conveys serious and religious qualities not typical of the composer’s previous works, balanced with the variety and light-hearted moments for which he was known. Listen to the original!