Louis Vierne – Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 14
Johann Sebastian Bach – Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542
Felix Mendelssohn – Variations sérieuses, Op. 54
César Franck – Choral No. 3 in A minor, FWV 39
Over the course of 2020, St. James Cathedral, Seattle will present the complete organ works of composer Louis Vierne, the principal organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral from 1900-1937, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his birth. For our first concert in this celebration, we are honored to welcome Johann Vexo, the current Choir Organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, in recital.
Johann Vexo was born in the French city of Nancy–a city close to the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. Surrounded and influenced by the rich musical and cultural heritage of that region of France, his training and performance career developed so rapidly that at age 25 he was appointed Organiste de Choeur (Choir Organist) at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris. Soon thereafter he was also appointed Organist of the grand Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Cathedral in Nancy, and most recently Professor of Organ at the Superior Music Academy in Strasbourg. His very physical approach to playing results in wonderfully rhythmic music-making, “the kind you feel as well as hear, and in riveting performances where this is no notion of organ playing as dull or dutiful or pompous.” (Dallas Morning News). Johann Vexo is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.
St. James Cathedral is home to two magnificent pipe organs that together form the grand organ, one of the largest musical instruments in Seattle. A single organist can play both organs from one console, resulting in a unique and exciting “surround-sound” experience for the listener. The oldest instrument, built by the Hutchings-Votey company in 1907, was installed in the West Gallery when the Cathedral was first constructed. The Rosales Opus 30 organ, in the East Apse, was added in 2000. Organ builder Manuel J. Rosales writes, “Given the solidity and massive sound of the 1907 Hutchings-Votey organ, the new Rosales organ, based on the French models, would bring a fresh, bright, crisp sound to the wonderful acoustics of St. James Cathedral. A sound that would be perceived of as complementary to the old organ as well as being distinctive on its own. Also, the new organ, although not particularly a large instrument, would offer an organist most of the resources needed to play the vast range of French literature.” More information on the organs at http://www.stjames-cathedral.org/music/organs/default.aspx
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