September 18 organist; Stephen Self
(1937) – Jehan Alain
Luttes ("Struggles")Suite, Op. 5
(1932) – Maurice Duruflé
(1902-86) Prélude Sicilienne Toccata
Stephen Self is Minister of Music at Grace University
Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He is a frequent soloist on piano and
organ in the Twin Cities, and is a staff accompanist at Gustavus Adolphus
College. He holds doctoral degrees in music history and organ
performance, and is particularly interested in the performance of new music for
both piano and organ.Jehan Alain was a promising young French composer, when his
life was cut short by his participation in the French army during World War
II. His Trois Danses were composed in 1937, when France was struggling
economically and politically to regain its former role as a major world power
after the disastrous First World War during which the country suffered four
million casualties. The dances are certainly unusual for their
genre. Each has at least one sombre moment in which the rhythmic pulse
wanes, and there are frequent bursts of sound followed by more reflective moments.
Even when moving in a straightforward meter, the rhythmic organization seems to
defy traditional dance expectations. In short, these masterworks are a
glimpse into the French national persona of the years immediately preceding
World War II. Today, they are considered one of the great French
contributions to the twentieth-century organ repertoire.The masterful composer Maurice Duruflé was born before
Alain, and lived over forty years after Alain was killed, and yet his creative
output is amazingly concise. Best known for his Requiem, Duruflé also
composed several major organ compositions, including his Suite, Op. 5, which
comes from 1932. The Suite's three movements are strikingly different
from one another: the Prélude is brooding and unsettled in manner, rising from
a very soft beginning to a magnificent climax, and then retreating to its
opening mood. The Sicilienne is modeled on an Italian dance, but it is
infused with impressionist sounds made so famous by another Frenchman, Claude Debussy.
And the Toccata is a continuous tumult of sound, sometimes striking a fleeting
moment of repose before erupting again.
At St. Olaf, we are blessed to have a magnificent 67-rank pipe organ.
This fall, it will be showcased in a series of recitals on Wednesday
afternoons, immediately following the noon Mass. Come hear the organ
thunder with might and whisper gently as talented organists showcase a
variety of repertoire.Wednesday Organ Recitals run from September 18 through December 4, and will be approx. 30-40 minutes long.
ST. OLAF CATHOLIC CHURCH215 S. 8TH STREET, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA 55402612-332-7471Website Policies