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Posts tagged as “Music”

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday March 2, 2011

Today: Duplication in federal programs found; bureaucrats can't change the way we drive ... but they keep trying; Wednesdays in Wiedemann tonight; Americans for Prosperity website attacked; Kansas presidential primary pitched as economic development; Huelskamp joins Tea Party Caucus; how government works.

Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Sunday November 7, 2010

Today: Elections, Wichita city council, Kansas legislature, Americans For Prosperity, Tim Huelskamp, Wichita Pachyderm Club, Music, Sam Brownback, Wichita city government, Wichita Eagle opinion watch, Property rights, Taxation.

Marcussen organ a Wichita treasure

One of the most important -- but most underappreciated, in my opinion -- cultural assets in Wichita is the Marcussen organ at Wichita State University and Wiedemann Recital Hall, which houses the organ.

It's not only the organ and recital hall, but the people who have been in charge of WSU's organ program and the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series, which brings in accomplished concert organists from around the world for a series of five or so recitals each year.

Vincent Dubois, Organ

On November 8, 2005, young French organist Vincent Dubois played a recital as part of the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series at Wiedemann Recital Hall, Wichita State University.

I attended his recital last year, and again a most remarkable thing about watching Mr. Dubois play is how effortless he makes it appear. He plays from memory, so there are no scores to fiddle with. He seems totally relaxed, his hands and feet merely skimming and floating over the keys and pedals. Managing the resources of the organ never seems to get in the way of making music, and wonderful music he makes.

This recital lasted fully two hours including an encore. It was attended by the largest audience I have seen for an organ recital at Wiedemann Recital Hall.

One piece Mr. Dubois played was the C-sharp minor prelude by Rachmaninoff, transcribed for organ by Louis Vierne. To me, this piece, one of the most famous in the piano repertoire, is so closely associated with that instrument that it was somewhat bizarre to hear it on organ.

Mr. Dubois played a piece titled Evocation II by the French organist and composer Thierry Escaich. This was an exciting, contemporary, virtuosic piece that prompted an outcry from at least one audience member at its end.

As the last piece, Mr. Dubois improvised on a theme. The improvisations are amazing. Last year he improvised a prelude and fugue on a submitted theme. This year the improvisation was what I would describe as a prelude.

Paul Jacobs, Organ

On September 20, 2005, Paul Jacobs of the Julliard School of Music played a recital as part of the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series at Wiedemann Recital Hall, Wichita State University.

I thought Mr. Jacobs was a wonderful player. He seems, at least to my untrained ear, to take more liberties with rhythm and phrasing while playing Bach than other organists. He spoke to the audience, explaining the pieces he was to play in more detail than many organists do.

He played two movements of Olivier Messiaen’s La Nativite du Seigneur (The Nativity of Our Savior), including Desseins Eternels (Eternal Designs). I guess no one told him that mentioning religion and design in Kansas could be troublesome! He also asked us to look at the audience and be aware that there aren't many young people in attendance. He also talked about how music has become part of the background noise of our lives, and that how important it is to listen to and concentrate on good music.

There seemed to be more people in the audience than is usual for these recitals. Mr. Jacobs received enthusiastic applause and played an encore. I hope he will return to play again.

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