SOLOIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
AUBIQUITOUS presence on the New York City scene, soprano RACHEL ROSALES has appeared at prestigious venues around town and internationally, including performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the “Sacred Music in a Sacred Space” series, American Symphony Orchestra, American Virtuosi/Baroque Opera Theatre, Ensemble PI and has achieved both popular and critical acclaim on international stages in opera, oratorio and solo recital. She participated at the Bard Music Festival and with the “MasterVoices” (formerly The Collegiate Chorale). Her work with The Oratorio Society of New York includes a Carnegie Hall celebrational concert with a world premiere work Song of Solomon by Slovakian composer Juraj Filas and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater as well as touring with The Oratorio Society in Hungary, Rome and Germany. Recent engagements include performances with New York City Opera “Renaissance” at “Jazz at Lincoln Center”, The Ensemble for Early music (NYC) in an 18th century zarzuela La Vida y Muerte de General Malbrú, Mozart’s Requiem with the Stamford Symphony and the OK Mozart Festival, Richard Wilson’s opera Æthelred the Unready as Emma, the nagging wife, at Vassar College and Symphony Space (NYC), Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Spokane Symphony and she has also toured in Europe and Israel with The Collegiate Chorale, James Bagwell, director. Along with her active performing career, she currently serves as a member of the music faculty of Vassar College, since 1998, and maintains a vocal studio in New York City.
SOPRANO BRYN HOLDSWORTH is a graduate student at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mignon Dunn. She is the proud recipient of the Rodgers and Hammerstein/Richard Rodgers Scholarship and The ASCAP Foundation Fran Morgenstern Davis Scholarship. She was a national finalist in the New York Lyric Opera competition, the Palm Beach Opera competition, and the Classical Singer competition. Ms. Holdsworth trained and performed at the International Vocal Arts Institute from 2011 to 2014 as well as Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal 2014. She was a participant in Marilyn Horne’s program, The Song Continues at Carnegie Hall where she appeared in Ms. Horne’s masterclass and in recital. She recently performed in Don Pasquale (Norina) and Dido and Aeneas (Belinda) as a young artist with Crested Butte Music Festival. Other credits in operatic roles include La Bohème (Mimì), Le tragédie de Carmen (Micaëla), Hänsel und Gretel (Gretel), and La Doriclea (Doriclea). Upcoming engagements include Persée et Andromède (Andromède) at MSM this spring.
SARA MURPHY, “a gorgeous, deep, dark mezzo-soprano” (New York Times), makes her company and role debut at Opera Theater of Rome as Ulrica (Un Ballo in Maschera) under the baton of Jesús López-Cobos in October 2016. Current season highlights include two appearances at Carnegie Hall:
A Prayer for Peace with MidAtlantic Opera and Handel’s Messiah with Oratorio Society of New York (OSNY). Sara appears again with OSNY in performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and returns to Cincinnati May Festival as Emilia in Verdi’s Otello and mezzo soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, both with conductor James Conlon. Opera News, The Guardian and Gramophone all praise her portrayal of Mother Bayard and Ermengarde in the recently released recording of Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner: “Sara Murphy’s closing aria as Ermengarde […] is marvellously poignant,” writes Gramophone. saramurphymezzo.com.
CALLED “gifted” by Opera News, and praised for her “powerful, rangy mezzo-soprano” by The New York Times, NORAGH DEVLIN is pursuing her Professional Studies certificate under the tutelage of Ruth Golden at the Manhattan School of Music (MSM), where she also earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees. She is a recipient of the Mae Zenke Orvis Opera Scholarship. Operatic credits include Roméo et Juliette (Gertrude) with the Aspen Music Festival; Die Zauberflöte (Zweite Dame), Thomson’s The Mother of Us All (Susan B. Anthony), I Capuleti e I Montecchi (Romeo) and Orphée aux enfers (L’Opinion Publique and Junon) with MSM; Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Giulio Cesare) with the Bay Area Summer Opera Training Institute, Elektra (Dritte Magd), and The Little Prince (The Geographer). Ms. Devlin’s 2015-2016 season includes The Dangerous Liaisons (Madame de Rosemonde), Luisa Miller (Federica), and Albert Herring (Florence Pike). In March, as the first prize winner of the 2015 Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition, Ms. Devlin will perform Elgar’s Sea Pictures with orchestra at MSM. This summer, Ms. Devlin will join Music Academy of the West as a Vocal Fellow, in the role of Elder Constance in the new Matthew Aucoin opera Second Nature.
TENOR JOHN TIRANNO has had his singing called “ardent and mellifluous” by The New York Times. Recent performances have included Berlioz’s Requiem (La Jolla Symphony & Chorus), Bach’s B minor Mass (Sacred Music in a Sacred Space in New York City), Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (The Dessoff Choirs), Richard Strauss’ Deutsche Motette (Musica Sacra), recitals at King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, the Saint-Saëns Requiem (Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra in Rome), Mozart’s Missa in C (at Auditório Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil), and creating two roles for Norwegian composer Gisle Kverndokk: Trouble in Max and Moritz and the Man in the Mirror in Supersize Girl (New York Opera Society). johntiranno.com
WISCONSIN-born baritone TIM MURRAY has been praised by The New York Times has having, “…a firm, flexible baritone” and Opera News adds that his sound is, “…pleasant, round.” Previous credits include Le Vicomte de Valmont (The Dangerous Liaisons), Leporello (Don Giovanni), and Le Meurtrier (Bloch’s Macbeth) at Manhattan School of Music, Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Twin Cities Fringe Opera, and chorus work with Minnesota Opera (Die Zauberflöte, Manon Lescaut, Hamlet), a company with which Tim has worked as a performer for their elementary school outreach program. Future engagements include the baritone soloist in Berlioz’s Lélio with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Tim won first prize at The Schubert Club Scholarship Competition and is a recipient of the Edgar Foster Daniels Scholarship for Voice. Tim is a second year Master’s degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music and is a student of James Morris.
BASS ADAM LAU has recently made debuts with the Dallas Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Naples, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He was a member of several of the country’s most prestigious Young Artist Programs, including Santa Fe, Florida Grand Opera, and SFO Merola Program. He also maintains a busy concert schedule with leading orchestras such as the Cincinnati Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic and will be appearing with the San Francisco Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, and Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica. A recent top-prize winner of the George London Competition, he has also won major awards from the Sullivan Foundation, McCollum Vocal Competition, and Florida Grand Opera’s Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition.
SOPRANO JANA MCINTYRE is pursuing a Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music studying under Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. This spring she will sing Andromède in MSM’s production of Persée et Andromède. She has sung the roles of Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), and La Fée (Cendrillon) with Miami Music Festival. She holds degrees in Music and in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles where she was awarded the Presser Award Scholarship and the UCLA Affiliates Scholarship. Other credits include Maid/Soprano Soloist (L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato), Le Feu/Rossignol (L’Enfant et les Sortilèges), Drusilla (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Clorinda (Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), Minerva (Orpheus in the Underworld) at UCLA, and Maid of Honor (Trial by Jury) with Santa Barbara Community Opera. Ms. McIntyre was featured in the California premiere of Jonathan Sheffer’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor as Rose 1 and sang Señora Digrazia in the world premiere of Roger Bourland’s new opera The Dove and the Nightingale.
ABOUT THE ORATORIO SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
Founded in 1873 by Leopold Damrosch, the Oratorio Society of New York is one of the city’s oldest musical organizations. From its earliest days, the Society played an integral role in the musical life of the city, presenting its own concerts and performing at musically and historically significant events. It also created a fund to finance building a concert hall. When Andrew Carnegie became the Society’s fifth president in 1888, he adopted the cause, enlisting fellow board member, architect William Tuthill, to design a “Music Hall” that would provide a suitable artistic home for the Society. In 1891, singing under Tchaikovsky’s baton, the Society helped inaugurate the concert hall that came to be known as Carnegie Hall. It has performed there ever since.
On its 100th anniversary the Society was presented with the Handel Medallion, New York City’s highest cultural award, in recognition of these contributions. It made its European debut in 1982 and has since performed in Europe, Asia, and Latin and South America. In March 2003, the Society received the UNESCO Commemorative Medal and the Cocos Island World Natural Heritage Site Award for its series of benefit concerts in Costa Rica.
In 1977, the Society inaugurated a solo competition to encourage the art of oratorio singing and to give young singers an opportunity to advance their careers. In 2006 it was renamed the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition in honor of Dr. Woodside’s dedication to the competition. International in scope, the competition attracts more than 100 singers each year. The Solo Competition is, however, only one example of the Society’s commitment to the next generation’s involvement in choral music. Its Choral Scholars Program provides financial support and coaching experience to young professionals who work with the chorus on a weekly basis and its Education Program introduces teens to classical choral music through classroom presentations and complimentary tickets to Oratorio Society performances. Encouraging young artists, teachers, and audiences is an essential part of the Society’s heritage and mission, and one of its proudest achievements.
These programs and the Society’s concerts receive no public support; they rely on ticket sales and the generosity of friends. The Society’s thanks go to all of you tonight. To purchase the Society’s recent CD, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Three a capella Motets by Bruckner and for information on forthcoming programs, the Solo Competition, gift-giving opportunities, chorus auditions, or purchasing Society memorabilia, visit our website at www.osny.org or write to: The Oratorio Society of New York, 1440 Broadway, 23 Floor, New York, NY 10018.
ABOUT MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC
NE of the world’s leading music conservatories, Manhattan School of Music is deeply committed to excellence in education, performance, and creative activity; to the humanity of the School’s environment; and to the cultural enrichment of the larger community. Founded as a settlement music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today it is recognized for its superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 40 countries; a world- renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula. Manhattan School of Music presents more than 800 concerts and recitals each year, which are recognized as some of the finest musical events in New York City.
MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC SYMPHONIC CHORUS AND WOMEN’S CHORUS
Symphonic Chorus membership is primarily made up of freshmen and sophomores at Manhattan School of Music. The Symphonic Chorus has recently performed Haydn’s The Creation, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, Mozart’s Requiem, Schubert’s Mass in G, Poulenc’s Gloria, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the world premiere of David Briggs’s transcription for organ, chorus, and soloists of Mahler’s Second Symphony, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Honegger’s Le Roi David, and Verdi’s Requiem.
The MSM Women’s Chorus was established in 2014 to explore the repertoire written and arranged for women’s voices. The membership is made up of first-year undergraduates majoring in voice, piano, and composition. For their inaugural performance, they performed Brahms’s Vier Gesänge, Op. 17, for women’s voices, harp, and horns.
The Symphonic Chorus and Women’s Chorus are excited to join forces again with the Oratorio Society of New York in this performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. These choruses will come together again in April to perform and record the world premiere of David Briggs’s transcription of the Mahler 8.
ORCHESTRAL STUDIES AT MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC
In the tradition of the classical music conservatory, the orchestral studies program at Manhattan School of Music forms the heart of the performing experience for instrumentalists. All students, placed by audition, participate in at least one of the School’s three major orchestras—the MSM Symphony, Philharmonia, and Chamber Sinfonia—under the guidance of George Manahan, Director of Orchestral Activities. In addition to Maestro Manahan and resident conductor David Gilbert, the orchestras have worked with guest conductors such as Philippe Entremont and Kurt Masur. In 2008, celebrating the School’s 90th anniversary, the Chamber Sinfonia made its Carnegie Hall debut in Zankel Hall under the baton of Pinchas Zukerman. Other orchestral highlights have included readings with distinguished conductors such as David Robertson, Yuri Temirkanov, and Charles Dutoit; a week-long residency in Caracas, Venezuela during which the MSM Symphony worked side by side with musicians of the Simón Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela; and a residency under the baton of Philippe Entremont at the Académie Internationale d’Eté de Nice’s “les concerts du Cloître.” April 2014 marked the debut of the MSM Symphony in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium performing under the baton of Maestro Leonard Slatkin.
ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. People from many faiths and communities worship together in services held more than 30 times a week; the soup kitchen serves roughly 20,000 meals annually; social service outreach has an increasingly varied roster of programs; the distinguished Cathedral School prepares young students to be future leaders; Adults and Children in Trust, the renowned preschool, afterschool and summer program, offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences; the outstanding Textile Conservation Lab preserves world treasures; concerts, exhibitions, performances and civic gatherings allow conversation, celebration, reflection and remembrance.
CATHEDRAL FRIENDS OF MUSIC
The Cathedral’s Friends of Music is comprised of dedicated and generous music lovers who know that these splendid concerts are not possible without ongoing financial support. Ticket sales cover only a small portion of the cost of presenting this great music in such a grand space. Donations from our generous Friends also help keep our ticket prices affordable. Friends of Music who contribute $250 or more are invited to exclusive pre-concert talks and post-concert receptions. Friends who donate $1,000 are invited to additional special receptions and events. Friends who contribute $10,000 will be invited to join the Dean’s Circle. Please contact Priscilla Bayley, Director of Individual Giving, at email@example.com or 212.316.7570 for more information.
ABOUT GREAT MUSIC IN A GREAT SPACE
The Great Music in a Great Space (GMGS) concert series seeks to utilize the full potential of the massive Gothic design of the Cathedral to present music, both familiar and not so familiar, in unique and spiritual settings. In addition the more common performance areas of the Cathedral such as the Great Choir and the Crossing, GMGS concerts may also take place in the nave or along the Cathedral’s eastern periphery in on of the Chapels of the Seven Tongues. Three c oncert series comprise GMGS: the Great Choir choral series, the Great Organ recital series, and our holiday concerts A Cathedral Christmas and The New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace. The repertoire of the choral series ranges from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary compositions to explorations of less familiar traditions, such as Eastern Orthodox hymnody. The Great Organ recital series features evening organ recitals, given by both Cathedral organists and internationally acclaimed guest artists.
Chorus Roster / Personnel
THE ORATORIO SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
Anne-Marie J. Audet
Patricia Ann Bruck
Marie A. Colella
Sarah Humphrey Joy Jones
Suky K. Kwak
Alana K. Laudone
Jane Adams Levi
Marianne S. Percival
Jennifer L. Ritter
Natasha Roemer Jennifer Rosa
Megan Mery Ryan
Colony Elliott Santangelo
Deirdre O. Schell
Terry L. Tolk
Yona M. Corn
Susan Sigda Lotocki
Florence M. Maynard
Susan Mendelsohn K
DiAnn K. Pierce
Eleanor T. Tewlow
Judith E. Williams
Susan H. Dramm
Melissa Sage Dumont
James A. Finder
Nicholas W. Lobenthal
Andrew R. Preis
Hyung-Gon Paul Yoo
Neil G. Bennett
Alex Lotocki de Veligost
William Guanbo Su*
MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC SYMPHONIC CHORUS
Kent Tritle, conductor
Ronnie Oliver, Jr., associate conductor
Vanessa May-lok Lee, collaborative pianist
Tucker Wheatley, graduate assistant
Jing Chun Chou
Ryung Eun Kim
Jennifer Wang Y
Boo Sung Park
Nhat Minh Nguyen
Jae Deok Seo
MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC WOMEN’S CHORUS
Ronnie Oliver, Jr., conductor
Vanessa May-lok Lee, collaborative pianist
Ryung Eun Kim
THE CATHEDRAL CHORISTERS OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE
Malcolm J. Merriweather, Associate Choirmaster
This ensemble of 26 students draws from the 5th-8th grade classes of the Cathedral School. The chorister program was founded when the Cathedral School opened its doors in 1901. These young musicians continue this proud tradition, participating in services at the Cathedral as well
as taking part in exciting outside projects. In 2013 the choristers sang in Carnegie Hall for the Oratorio Society of New York’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem and traveled to London to sing services at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Class of 2016
Alice Rose Lelyveld+
Nicolás Jiménez Lozano*
Class of 2017
Class of 2018
Class of 2019
Lila di Florio
* Head Chorister
+ Deputy Head Chorister
Additional texts and information for the double-CD audio release
“MUSIC FROM A HIGHER SPHERE.”
Pro Organo CD 7276
Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in a new transcription by David Briggs
Thursday, 7 April 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Great Music in a Great Space Series
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
New York City
A NOTE FROM MR. BRIGGS
“A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” It has long been an ambition to transcribe Mahler’s Eighth. It follows on from my transcriptions of the Fifth (1998), Sixth (2006), Third (2009), and Second (2012). I hugely value the opportunity to give the world premiere of the new transcription at St. John the Divine— with its unique acoustic and stunning Skinner organ, and such voluminous choral resources. Making the transcription took the best part of nine months, and learning it rather more! Without doubt, Mahler included some of the most beautiful music he had ever written. For me it represents his never-ending quest for faith and completeness. The final apotheosis is completely overwhelming—even more so on the organ than the orchestra, in my humble opinion. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this was the last music he was to ever conduct in Europe (at the premiere at the Neue Musik- Festhalle in Munich, in September 1910).
I would like to dedicate this performance to John Scott, my longtime friend and extremely distinguished Organist and Director of Music at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, who died extremely unexpectedly and prematurely in August last year. We miss him so much. The final words of the Eighth Symphony sum things up much more eloquently than I ever could:
Ist nur ein Gleichnis;
Hier wird’s Ereignis;
Hier ist’s getan;
Zieht uns hinan.
All that passes away
Is only a likeness;
The inadequacy of earth
Here finds fulfilment;
Here is accomplished;
The eternal feminine
leads us up.
NOTES ON THE PROGRAM
Used courtesy of the New York Philharmonic
By James M. Keller
The Leni and Peter May Chair at the New York Philharmonic
Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major
July 7, 1860
Kalischt (Kalište), Bohemia
near the town of Humpolec
May 18, 1911 Vienna, Austria
June 21, 1906 (following preliminary sketches made earlier that year), through summer 1907. Texts: Part One, to the hymn Veni, creator spiritus, was once thought to have been written in 809 by Rabanus Maurus but is now more widely ascribed to Anonymous; Part Two, from the Second Part of Goethe’s dramatic poem Faust, which was completed in 1832; dedicated
“To my beloved wife, Alma Maria”
September 12, 1910, in Hall One of the Munich Exhibition Grounds, the composer conducting an orchestra specially convened for the occasion along with the Leipzig Riedelverein, Vienna Singverein, Munich Central School Children’s Chorus, and eight vocal soloists
Symphony No. 8 in E-flat Major (Symphony of a Thousand) Part I: Hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’
Part II: Final scene from Part II of Goethe’s Faust
David Briggs, organ Kent Tritle, conductor
Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) organ transcription* by David Briggs
Mulier Samaritana • Sara Murphy, mezzo-soprano
Magna Peccatrix • Rachel Rosales, soprano
Una Poenitentium • Bryn Holdsworth, soprano
Mater Gloriosa • Jana McIntyre, soprano
Doctor Marianus • John Tiranno, tenor
Pater Ecstaticus • Tim Murray, baritone
Pater Profundus • Adam Lau, bass
Maria Aegyptiaca • Noragh Devlin, mezzo-soprano
The Oratorio Society of New York
The Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus
The Manhattan School of Music Women’s Chorus
The Cathedral Choristers of St. John the Divine
Ken Williams, Production Manager
Heather Cloud, Box Office Manager
Christian Mardones, House Manager
Melissa Mizell, Lighting Design HNE,
Audio/Sound Design Randy Hansen, Audio Consultant
* This world premiere organ transcription was made possible thanks to generous support from:
Mrs Gill James
Mr James Bailey
Mr Alfred Byron Nimocks
Mr Byron Nimocks
Mr Peter Partridge
THE TEXTS AND ENGLISH TRANSLATION IS FOUND IN THE BOOKLET WHICH ACCOMPANIES THE COMPACT DISC FORMAT RELEASE OF THE RECORDING.
KENT TRITLE, DIRECTOR OF CATHEDRAL MUSIC
KENT TRITLE is one of America’s leading choral conductors. Called “the brightest star in New York’s choral music world” by The New York Times, Tritle is in his fifth season as Director of Cathedral Music and organist at New York’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. He is
also Music Director of the Oratorio Society of New York and of Musica Sacra. He is Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and on the graduate faculty of the Juilliard School. He is organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra.
Tritle holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Juilliard School in organ performance and choral conducting. He has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, and Minnesota Public Radio, as well as in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
DAVID BRIGGS is an internationally renowned organist whose performances are acclaimed for their musicality, virtuosity, and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages. Master of an extensive repertoire spanning five centuries, he is known across the globe for his brilliant organ
transcriptions of symphonic music by composers such as Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Bruckner, Ravel, and Bach. Fascinated by the art of improvisation since he was a child, David also frequently performs improvisations to silent films such as Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Nosferatu, Jeanne d’Arc, Metropolis, as well as a variety of Charlie Chaplin films. In addition, he teaches at the University of Cambridge (UK), frequently serves on international organ competition juries, and gives masterclasses at colleges and conservatories across the U.S. and Europe. He is also a prolific composer and his works range from full-scale oratorios to works for solo instruments. He has recorded a DVD and 30 CDs, many of which include his own compositions and transcriptions. For more information, please visit david-briggs.org.
On the art of organ transcriptions:
“Several important ingredients go into both the making and the performance of successful organ transcriptions. I always start from the full orchestral score and not a piano reduction. It’s perhaps surprising that, with Mahler’s symphonies, it’s not necessary to reduce too much, or to leave too much out. If you look at the sketches, things are often quite clear (and written for piano over three staves). The magic with Mahler comes, of course, from the subtlety of the orchestral color, but with modern organ console technology and a degree of imagination it’s possible to replicate (or more accurately translate) this in a new medium. It’s important, too, not to make the transcription unplayable. . . . I tend to find ways, through octave transpositions, reorganizing of the voicing of the harmony, and so on, to make the music lie well under the hands and both feet. Processing each note is a very time- consuming (and rather therapeutic) exercise—each bar requires a large amount of thought and this is a perfect way to get to know a score very intimately.
The organist, of course, has four main advantages over the pianist, when it comes to performing orchestral transcriptions: (a) the ability to incorporate either single or double pedal parts; (b) more expressive potential through registrational color and swell boxes; (c) more possibility for sustaining intense orchestral crescendi; and (d) very often performing in great cathedrals, where the acoustic and aesthetic ambience can add so much to the emotional impact of this music. Playing the last movement of Mahler 3 at York Minster a while back, the effect of that matchless building on the music was breathtaking.
In making the transcriptions, I’m quite disciplined about including the composers’ original intentions for phrasing, articulations, and dynamic parameters. More than that, though, I leave to the integrity and free will of the performer. . . . From the performance point of view, I always endeavor to adopt a registration scheme that has as much color and vivacity as the orchestra, but not necessarily the same explicit colors. There are certain instruments we just don’t have, but I think with care it’s possible to create registrations that have the same emotional ambience, clarity, and contrast. . . . You try and imagine what Mahler would say if he were standing over your shoulder. My profound hope is that people will enjoy playing and hearing these recastings of Mahler’s originals, rather like seeing great paintings in a new art gallery, in a different frame under completely new lighting conditions. This is highly charged, emotional music that shows Mahler’s complete genius for creating a highly original soundscape, which is instantly recognizable and completely inimitable.”
Choir and Organ, 2013