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  • Program for April 18 Friday Pipes

    Andrew Peters, Pastoral Musician of Second Presbyterian Church returns to the console today to provide our Friday Pipes recital. Here is his program:

    • Symphony No. 6, op. 59 – V. Finale – Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
    • Improvisation- Pastorale – Jospeh Jongen (1873-1953)
    • Prelude in c minor, S. 546 – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
    • Ten Pieces for the Organ – III. Andante – Joseph Jongen (1837-1924)
    • Introduction, Fugue, and Toccata on a Hymn Tune – Clarence Mader (1904-1971)

    Andrew Peters is Pastoral Musician (Organist/Director of Music) at Second Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. He holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with John Ferguson and Todd Wilson. He has won numerous competitions and plays at locations throughout the United States. In the past he has performed at venues including St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta; St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City; St. Olaf College; DePauw University; and the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. He has also played the organ part on music of Britten, Ives, and Bach with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra including their appearance at Carnegie Hall in the fall of 2013.

    A member of the American Guild of Organists, Peters has served as Dean of the Nashville AGO Chapter, Director for the 2010 St. Louis Pipe Organ Encounter for young organists, and is the Convention Coordinator for the 2015 AGO Regional Convention in St Louis. His released a recording on the 14-rank Schoenstein organ of the Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee which was praised by The Diapason and The American Organist. His brass and organ arrangements for congregational singing have been published by MorningStar Music Publishers. A native of West Caldwell, New Jersey, Peters lives with his family in St. Louis city.


  • Program for April 4th Friday Pipes

    Horst Buchholz is performing today’s program. It’s entitled “The Organ Light”, Reflections on April 1. The program is:

  • Festive March in D – Henry Smart (1813-1879)
  • Versetti per il Gloria sopra la musica di Mozart – Carlo Moreno (1867-1927)
  • Suite “The Tragedy of a Tin Soldier” – Gordon Balch Nevin (1892 – 1943)
    The Return from the War
    His Jealousy
    His Farewell Serenade
    The Tin Soldier’s Funeral March
  • Processional March – Oscar Verne
  • It looks like a fun program. Hope to see you there at 12:30.

    Dr. Horst Buchholz is Director of Sacred Music and Organist at the Cathedral Basilica and for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and also serves as Artistic Director of St. Louis Cathedral Concerts. He received his first musical training in a boys choir in his native Germany and graduated with degrees and diplomas in organ and church music from the University of Arts in Berlin. After studies in conducting in Bloomington, Indiana, he was awarded the Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University. Buchholz has been active as conductor, organist, and educator in the USA, Mexico, Canada, Korea, Japan, and throughout Europe. He was Director of Music and Cathedral Organist in Denver. Buchholc was also conducting professor at the University of Denver and Music Director of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, which named him Conductor Laureate. Prior to his move to St. Louis he served as Canon for Music and Worship at Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral. He is Vice-President for the Church Music Association of America.


  • wpid-img_20140402_153606.jpgNew plaque

    A new brass plaque commemorating the dedication of the organ has been installed. It credits all of the builders that had a hand in the organ’s life. Some people think it’s odd that there isn’t a builder’s nameplate on the console, but it would be difficult for any one company to take full credit for the completed organ.

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  • Friday Pipes, Spring 2014

    The schedule of Friday Pipes recitals for the spring of 2014 has been finalized. Here’s the lineup:

    • March 14 – Nicole Keller
      Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, Berea, Ohio
      Director of Music, The Community of Saint John, Hudson, OH.
    • March 21 – William Sullivan
      Organist, Laclede Groves Chapel, St. Louis
    • March 28 – Barbara Harbach
      Professor of Music, University of Missouri-St. Louis
      Organist, Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church
    • April 4 – Horst Buchholz
      Director of Music, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
    • April 11 – Jinhee Kim (Seoul, South Korea)
      Masters Candidate, Indiana University
      Director of Music and Organist, First Presbyterian Church, Martinsville, IN
      Finalist, 2013 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition
    • April 18 – Andrew Peters
      Pastoral Musician, Second Presbyterian Church, St. Louis
    • April 25 – John Nothaft
      Indiana University
    • May 2 – Nicholas Mourlam
      Masters Candidate, University of Notre-Dame
      Organist and Music Assistant, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, South Bend, Indiana
    • May 9 – Jeffrey Cooper
      Organist and Choirmaster, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Elkhart, Indiana.
    • May 16 – Christiano Rizzotto (Rio de Janiero, Brazil)
      Doctoral Candidate, University of Oklahoma
      Director of Music and Organist, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Duncan, OK
    • May 23 – Robert Stubbs
      Masters Candidate, Indiana University
      Organist, Centenary Methodist Church, Lebanon, Indiana

    Friday pipes recitals are 30 minutes long and begin at 12:30pm. We have some fantastic artists lined up, so please mark your calendar for what promises to be 11 excellent concerts!


  • Friday Pipes in 2014

    We’re happy to announce Friday Pipes will be back in 2014 with 23 weekly concerts in March, April, May, September, October, and November. Recitals will be at 12:30pm on Fridays. Keep watching here for the lineup.

    In the meantime, if you are a recitalist interested in performing on Third’s restored pipe organ, and you are or can be in the St. Louis area this Spring or Fall, please contact Brent Johnson for available dates.


  • Friday Pipes, November 8, 2013

    Grand Pièce Symphonique, op. 17 by César Franck

    • Andantino Serioso
    • Andante
    • All non troppo e maestoso
    • Beaucoup plus largement

    Brent Johnson, Organist, Third Baptist Church

    Download the score here.

    On November 8, 1890, 123 years ago today, César Franck succumbed to an unknown illness. His health had been deteriorating rapidly as he suffered from pneumonia, injuries sustained in an accident a few months earlier, and from a constant and overbearing workload. Some of Franck’s greatest compositions date from this period near the end of his life. He died as a controversial figure in French musical circles, respected by his students, but not always lauded by music critics and audiences. Although he became a French citizen, his Belgian origins made him an outsider among the elite of Parisian music. However, he managed to rise the top of his profession in France as an organist, composer, and teacher. Among the attendees of his funeral were the notable composers Camille Saint-Saëns, Eugène Gigout, Gabriel Fauré, Felix Alexandre Guilmant, and Charles-Marie Widor.

    Grand Pièce Symphonique dates from early in Franck’s career. Written in 1860, it was the second in a series of six works composed for the new organ of the church of St. Clotilde in Paris where Franck had been appointed titular organist just 11 months before the instrument was completed. The work calls for stops that did not exist in the relatively small organ of St. Clotilde, hinting that Franck intended for this work to be published and performed elsewhere as well. While the Grand Pièce is a monumental work in scale, it is not considered his best composition. It is, however, full of landmarks worthy of note. While the piece is composed as one complete work, it can be divided into sections which form together the semblance of 4 single movements, and for the sake of these notes, will be considered as such. Viewed in this manner, this work assumes the status of the first great French organ symphony, and predecessor to the great organ symphonies of Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, and other composers to come.

    While the work might not have been composed only for the organ of St. Clotilde, it does require some of the registrational aids that were becoming available in organs of Franck’s time, thanks specifically to the work of organbuilder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The ventil stop action used by Cavaillé-Coll is called upon multiple times. Ventils were mechanisms that allowed the organist to turn groups of stops on or off with the flip of a foot. While they were limited by the standards of today’s combination actions, they granted additional control to organists that were used to having very little. For example, this work includes the first instance in the organ literature of such an aid being required for a lone organist to create the desired effect. While a large chord is held, the Great reed stops are added via the ventils, creating the effect of trumpets making an entrance over the rest of an orchestra. Without these ventils, either an assistant would have to pull the stops, or an additional manual (and probably an additional hand or two) would be needed.

    The choice of stops to use when performing Franck’s organ works is not usually up for much discussion. Like most French composers of the time, the composer was careful to specify exactly what stops he required in his works (which is why we know this piece could not be properly realized on the St. Clotilde organ). These registrations combined with the extant organs from the period allow us to hear the music exactly as it was originally performed. However, while the organ of Third Baptist is a beautiful instrument, it is not a Cavaillé-Coll, and strict adherence to Franck’s registration scheme does not create the same results here as in Paris. Instead, the composer’s ideas and the sounds of the intended organ have been taken into consideration when searching for combinations that are effective on this organ and in this space. Liberties have been taken to find tonal solutions outside the usual strict realm of French romantic registration to bring the work to life today and to allow the organ of Third Baptist to be utilized to its best effect.

    The Grand Pièce Symphonique begins with a gentle opening theme. Franck spends a little time developing this first theme from mezzo-piano to forte before introducing the main theme of the work. This descending three-note theme appears in the pedal and then the manuals. The simple theme is displayed in numerous ways, set against a martial backdrop, and then played in both the pedal and the manuals against a triplet accompaniment. The first “movement” of the piece finally closes with a reprise of the opening.

    The second section inverts the three-note theme into a melody that is both simple and haunting, and is filled with lush harmonies typical of Franck. In this section liberties again have been taken with Franck’s intended registration. The movement is reconsidered as an orchestral work and stops have been chosen for this effect. This allows a bit more dynamic depth and allows for sounds endemic to Third Baptist to fill the music created by Franck. A scherzo with arpeggiated figures more like Bach, but still with the harmonic language of Franck splits the movement before the opening melody returns and brings the section to a quiet close.

    Much has been written about the third movement, due primarily to its similarity to the third movement of the 9th symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. In that work, Beethoven takes time to revisit all of the themes explored in the symphony, as if he’s searching for just the right way to end the work. The same happens here, as we hear bits of the entire work replayed until Franck finds what he’s looking for. Finally he returns to the main theme, the three-note theme found in the first movement. This time, however, we hear the theme on the full organ in the bright key of F-sharp major, instead of minor, with a running pedal accompaniment, to boot. A fugue on a simple 4-note theme follows, and then that same theme is heard against a rhythmic backdrop and taken through a cycle of several keys before finally, in one last short section we hear the fugue theme joyously presented on the full resources of the organ.


  • Masterclass with Jane Parker-Smith

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    Concert organist Jane Parker-Smith was in St. Louis to play a recital at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The following morning she came to Third Baptist to conduct a masterclass for the St. Louis chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Performers were Stephen Eros, Travis Evans, and Brent Johnson. Here are a few photos taken by guild photographer Rene Zajner.

    Ms. Smith and Stephen Eros
    Ms. Smith and Stephen Eros

    Ms. Smith shows off her well-worn score of the Franck Cantabile.
    Ms. Smith shows off her well-worn score of the Franck Cantabile.

    Ms. Smith and Brent Johnson playing Neils Gade.
    Ms. Smith and Brent Johnson playing Neils Gade.