One of America's greatest organists is taking on a work of one of America's greatest composers. How appropriate that this should occur in Philadelphia, which claims Samuel Barber--composer of the famous Adagio for Strings which was also arranged as an Agnus Dei--as its own. I don't know if this new Barber piece will be appropriate in a liturgical context. I suppose I'll just find out at the concert!
The press release:
PAUL JACOBS TO PERFORM UNPUBLISHED SAMUEL BARBER ORGAN WORK
AT PHILADELPHIA'S TENTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
An unpublished prelude and fugue for organ by Samuel Barber, which received its only performance in 1928 by organist Carl Weinrich at The Curtis Institute of Music, will be performed by Paul Jacobs on Friday, September 12, at 8 p.m. at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Music historian Barbara Heyman discovered the Barber work at the Library of Congress in 1984, as part of the research for her award-winning biography-Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music. Impressed by a recent performance by Mr. Jacobs, Dr. Heyman asked whether he would be interested in performing it.
On September 12 Mr. Jacobs will reintroduce Barber's Prelude and Fugue in B Minor in his dedication program for Tenth Presbyterian Church's new four-manual Walker digital organ, a gift from former U.S. Surgeon-General and former church elder, C. Everett Koop. About the prelude and fugue, Mr. Jacobs comments, “Through this richly chromatic work, Barber seems to carry the listener beyond Brahms and Reger, into a new, personal realm of expression.” Mr. Jacobs will also include Barber’s Prelude and Fugue in his upcoming performances in Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and San Francisco.
Samuel Barber, an organist himself, wrote the prelude and fugue in 1927 when he was a Curtis student studying composition with Rosario Scalero. Carl Weinrich was a fellow student who went on to become well known as a leader in a U.S. revival of Baroque organ music in the 1930’s. Mr. Barber began studying the pipe organ at age 11 and the following year was hired as an organist for Westminster Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where according to Dr. Heyman, he earned $100 a month but was fired shortly thereafter for "refusing to hold fermatas in hymns and responses."
At 31, Paul Jacobs is widely acknowledged for reinvigorating today's organ scene with a fresh performance style and an "unbridled joy of music-making" in performances throughout America, as well as in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. In 2003 he became one of Juilliard's youngest faculty appointments and the following year was named chairman of the Juilliard organ department. Mr. Jacobs studied at The Curtis Institute of Music, where he doubled-majored in organ with John Weaver and harpsichord with Lionel Party, and subsequently at Yale University, where he studied with Thomas Murray.
Among the highlights of Mr. Jacobs's 2008-09 season are debuts with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas in November and the San Francisco Symphony under Yan Pascal Tortelier in April. Mr. Jacobs also dedicates the new Fisk pipe organ at Segerstrom Concert Hall in his Pacific Symphony debut with a program that features the world premiere of a new work for organ, brass and percussion by Masterprize and Grammy-winning composer Christopher Theofanidis. On December 10, the 100th birthday of Olivier Messiaen, he will mark the occasion with a performance of the composer's Livre du Saint Sacrement in Woolsey Hall at Yale University, Mr. Jacobs's alma mater.
Friday, September 12, at 8:00 p.m.
Tenth Presbyterian Church, 1700 Spruce St.
Paul Jacobs, organist
Prelude and Fugue in B Major, Op. 7 Marcel Dupre (1886-1971)
Trio Sonata in E Minor, BWV 528 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude and Fugue in B Minor (1928) Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Pageant Leo Sowerby (1895-1968)
Fantasia and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam Franz Liszt (1811-1886)