News

See "Behind the Scenes", our blog recording the organ project progress and other events here at Voices of Ascension.

NEWS FROM DENNIS KEENE, March 2011

Each event in the Inaugural Festival will highlight different facets of this highly versatile 21st century instrument.

“Our first three organ recitalists are extraordinary individual artists,” declares Dr. Keene, “each with a very strong musical personality. They will use the organ in very different ways, and consequently the Ascension organ will sound completely different at these three events. Jon Gillock (May 5) is one of the most profound and poetic souls in the organ world, and his recital will feature many of his signature pieces, including the deeply-felt Prelude, Fugue, and Variation and Prière of César Franck, as well as the ecstatically brilliant Dieu parmi nous of Olivier Messiaen. Distinctively, every registration that Messiaen calls for in his music can be found in this organ.

“Francis Chapelet (May 26) is one of the great European interpreters of early organ music. This is an old-world master whose playing has the color and patina of another era. One does not often hear playing like this in the United States. Christoph Bossert (June 16) is the most respected German organist in the world. His Bach playing reflects all the current thoughts on performance practice; in addition, his playing has a gravitas that is very rare in today’s early music world. He is also the finest interpreter of Max Reger I have ever heard.”

Voices of Ascension, the professional choir and concert ensemble in residence at the Church, will explore the repertory for chorus and organ in two concerts. The first (May 11) will focus on French music by Fauré, Poulenc and Lili Boulanger, with orchestra added for the Duruflé Requiem, a signature work for Dr. Keene and Voices of Ascension. The specific French organ timbres that play such an integral role in this work will enrich their interpretation. The new organ will be opened up all the way in the solo selection by Dupré.

The second choral concert, “Pipes and Voices” (June 8), will have as its centerpiece Kodály’s World War II masterpiece, Missa Brevis. Also featured will be the winning pieces of the Elizabeth and Michel Sorel Charitable Organization’s international competition for women composers, as well as the world premiere of Five Essences for solo organ by the young Chinese composer Chiayu, the 2008 winner of the Sorel Medallion. The grandest of all English cathedral anthems, Parry’s I was glad, ends the program with the organist literally pulling out all the stops.