What happened was that security guard had it ready for us in his pocket but had been called shortly before we arrived to the parking lot. We waited for him for a few minutes and a nun actually called him about the key.
The rehearsal went fine except for the fact that the F1 key kept sticking on the Great. It was very annoying. Tried hitting it softly and strongly but the results were unpredictable. So when there were 30 minutes left before the recital I climbed to the windchest, took out the F spring, widened it and put it back inside. Now this key required more energy to press but at least the stickiness disappeared.
I set up the camera phone from the right hand side when looking at the organ. We noticed that the spotlight from the opposite column didn't work so I pointed the remaining one to the middle of the organ.
I checked the mic connection to the phone and turned on the recorder on Ausra's phone too as a backup. I started livestreaming to Facebook from my phone 1 minute before 6 PM. The church was full of people and we were ready to start.
Oh and by the way, I started drawing a comic from the scene in our rehearsal when Ausra practiced her "Nun komm". It was about Pinky asking Spiky to lower the bench while she was playing the chorale prelude. Spiky was eager to help and tried to pull the wooden blocks underneath Pinky. Have to finish the drawing and coloring it later.
So anyway, we started our recital with the Sinfonia, BWV 248/10 from Christmas Oratorio. At first I was a little nervous and even didn't help Ausra to relax but when we finished our first piece I understood we will be fine. Ausra got her first acquaintance with that F Key on the 1st manual which was now much more difficult to press. We played on the P8 stop on the Great and the bass part on the Positive with F16 and P8.
The second piece on the program was the choral "Brich an, o schones Morgenlicht", BWV 248/12. Here the only accident occurred in Ausra's part in the penultimate phrase. A couple of alto notes got mixed up. The registration was P16, 8, 4 and 2 of the Great.
The 3rd piece was aria "Frohe Hirten, eilt ach eilet", BWV 248/15. It had a notorious difficult passage for tenor towards the second half. I did fine. The registration was F8, 4 in the Soprano (Great), F8 and Oboe in the tenor (Swell) and F16, 4, P8 in the Bass (Positive).
The 4th piece was the choral "Schaut hin, dort lieft im finstern Stall", BWV 248/17. The registration was P8, 4, 2 and F16 on the Positive. I always forget whether to look at the piano reduction or the SATB score before we start. Today was no an exception.
Then we played aria "Schlafe, mein Liebster", BWV 248/19. The registration was Gamba and two flutes on the Positive, alto part - on the Great with F8, Salicional 8, F 4 and Unda Maris and the bass part with P8 and F16 on the Swell. What can I say? Well, I just wished we had played from the original full-length version and not from abridged arrangement because it sounded too beautiful.
To end Christmas oratorio part of our program we played the choral "Wir singen dir", BWV 248/23 on the Principal chorus with mixture of the Great. We did a very nice ritardando at the end.
Then Ausra played chorale prelude on "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland", BWV 659. The registration was Cornet for soprano on the Swell, F8 and Salicional 8 for the alto and tenor on the Great and P16 and 8 for the bass.
During her playing I thought that it brought so much calmness and peace for me that I felt like she was playing it for me only. I was right - she even emphasized the cross sign at the end.
Now came my turn to play solo. I raised the bench while Ausra set up the registration for "Nun komm", BWV 660. Right hand - Gamba, P8, and two flutes on the Positive, left hand - P16, F8 and 4 and pedals F16, 8 and 4. To my surprise, I played it very well, even though had problems with it in almost every practice. Yes, even right before the recital today. I got lucky. That's all I can say.
After this, I played "Nun komm", BWV 661 with full principal chorus and mixture with a third on the Great and everything up to a Posaune in the pedals. Didn't use the 32' Subbass because the air supply for some notes of the Posaune was insufficient. Again, I played fine and even was relaxed enough to add a spontaneous flourish in the soprano part with 16th notes in the last page.
No. 10 on our program was chorus "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme", BWV 140/1 for which I made a special organ duet arrangement. Ausra played on 2 manuals: P8 and 4 for the right hand on the Great and P8, 4, 2 for the left hand part on the Positive. I also played on the 1st manual but added solo Cornet and Trompette 8' for choral tune on the Swell. I also took the pedal part with 16', 8' and 4' foundation stops. To tell you the truth, it was the most technically demanding piece on the menu and we played it so well. Prior to the recital I had also used Clairon 4' for the choral line but decided to omit it because one note was out of tune. Listening to the recording afterwards we came to the conclusion it was for the best.
No. 11 was Ausra's "Wachet auf", BWV 645 which she played with the P8 on the Positive, Octave 4 plus Trompette 8' on the Great and P16 and 8 on the Pedals. She again showed her calm nerves and played in a very relaxed manner.
No. 12 was the duet "Mein Freund ist mein", BWV 140/6. We registered it for F8 and Vox Humana for the duet parts on the Positive, F8, 4, P8 and Q3 on the Swell and P16 and 8 on the Great.
Ausra mentioned it afterwards that we've got to add it as an encore to the program in Orebro, Sweden on February 9 and Schwabisch Gmund, Germany in July 31, 2020. So I guess it means we played it well.
Here comes the moment we've both been waiting for - the final choral "Gloria sei dir gesungen", BWV 140/7. We registered it on a full principal chorus with mixture and a thirds on the Great. Ausra played the soprano part and the bass part pedals (registered with Posaune). I took the alto and tenor parts with my left hand on the Great and doubled the soprano part on the Swell with Cornet. The loud applause downstairs right after the last chord meant the audience followed the program intently.
We took a bow and went to the side but had to come back for a second bow because our audience demanded it. Ausra and I congratulated each other and I turned off the camera. In the meantime Ausra has been talking to the friends and family. Some of them wanted to take a picture of the organ.
Here's the video:
We hope you'll also enjoy the video recording that our Unda Maris organ student Audre Dudeniene combined with my video. Let us know what you think.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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