How will you celebrate Saint Cecilia Day this Saturday (November 22)?
That evening, I will be playing a recital „Cantantibus Organis Caecilia Domino“ at Vilnius University St. John's church which will feature my improvisations based on the text of the poem by the famous 17th century English poet John Dryden (1631-1700) known as "A Song for Saint Cecilia Day" (1687).
The words of this poem became the foundation of the famous "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day" by Georg Frideric Handel.
In the poem Dryden tells a story about the Harmony of the Universe and touches upon the place of various musical instruments (strings, winds, and especially the organ) in the cosmology of the world. The listeners of this recital will be able to better comprehend and follow unfolding musical story because the text will be provided in the program notes for everyone to see.
Saint Cecilia Day is a perfect occasion to remember all musicians who are working in churches - organists, choir directors, choristers, cantors, and instrumentalists whose joint input into the liturgy and overall musical life in the church cannot be overestimated.
The improvisations which will sound in this recital will be divided into 8 spontaneous pieces - there are that many stanzas in the poem by Dryden. I will create a unified but contrasting cycle in which the Dryden world will be re-created with various musical means - melody, rhythms, harmony, dynamics, registration, texture, and form.
Do you have anything special planned for Saint Cecilia Day this year?
Duo VI Ave maris stella (in Versets of 2, 3 and 4 voices, Fabordones, Intermedios, p. 7) by Antonio de Cabezón (1510-1566), a blind Spanish Renaissance composer and organist.
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Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.