Sunday, January 16, 2011


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A series of Toccatas were presented in concert by the Emory University Graduate Organ Alumni yesterday.  The venue was the Emerson Concert Hall Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.  The program consisted of 14 toccatas written by composers from Frescobaldi to Ad Wammes.  I was not familiar with several of the modern composers (e.g., Len Bobo).  There were several standout pieces for me.  The first was the “Toccata all’Elevazione” by Frescobaldi.  This early baroque piece did not fare well on the Jaeckel organ.  The structure of the piece was lost in the large romantic organ.  “La Campanella” by Liszt is so over-familiar that it seemed almost silly in the context of the sophistication of the rest of the program.  I particularly like Moonikendam’s Toccata.  It had wonderful pedal notes that underscored the fast keyboard fingering.  I also liked Bobo’s “Toccata from Appalachian Prelude.”  It demonstrated the full range of effects possible on the organ.  The program finished with a nice performance by Hyoun Joo Song of the “Toccata from Symphony V” by Widor. This is a well known piece that is joyful and written to be performed on an organ like the Jaekel.  Some of the pedal notes didn’t have quite the sweep that I have heard from others, but Ms. Song played it very competently. 

The day was beautiful, with just a bit of the snow from Atlanta’s recent winter storm.  The Emory Campus is beautiful with nice architecture that is in keeping with the surrounding residential area.  The area it is in also has a small-town college vibe.  Spent some time at a local coffee shop reading and drinking a latte.  First latte I have enjoyed in some time.  It was a great afternoon. 

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