Special Organ Music during Holy Week 2022
A message from Organist Marvin Mills
César Franck Bicentennial
December 10, 1822 – November 8, 1890
Pianist, organist, composer, teacher and improviser César Franck was born in Liege, modern day Belgium, though his legacy is thoroughly French as he helped to revitalize his adopted country's chamber music and organ repertoire through a small but highly regarded corpus of compositions. Soaring/poignant melodies, complex counterpoint and rich harmonic vocabulary deftly modulating to remote keys are characteristic, taking the listener on an intense journey, exemplary of the late Romantic period.
Most of Franck’s greatest works come after 1858, coinciding with his third, and last, church position. Within a year of taking up the post at Sainte-Clotilde a magnificent organ was installed, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. This instrument proved to be inspirational to Franck with its broad foundation tone, piquant flutes and penetrating reed stops; its up to date registration assists facilitating rapid and smooth crescendos and diminuendos akin to the Romantic orchestra; and responsive mechanically assisted key action; all innovations of Cavaillé-Coll. Franck made great use of these aesthetic improvements to the instrument through his improvisations at Sainte-Clotilde and his organ works, helping to set the course for the French Romantic School of organ music and playing to the current day.
The success of the renovation of the St. Paul's organ in 2010-11 will afford an effective presentation of a representative trinity of Franck's organ music during Holy Week:
Pièce Héroïque (1878) – Palm Sunday postlude
Prière (1859) – Good Friday Stations of the Cross with images provided by Grace Graham
Final (1859) – Easter Sunday postlude
Click HERE to go to the Worship at Home page, where you can find the recordings of Sunday and Holy Week services, complete with music.