Thursday, July 14, 2011

Peachtree United Methodist

Tom Trenney presented a recital as part of the Atlanta Summer Organ Festival at the Peachtree United Methodist Church.  This is a large performing space that has less reverberation than the previous recital at St. Phillips, but it still has that cathedral-like sound.  From the churches website:  The Great Organ of Peachtree Road, installed by Mander Organs of London, England, is the largest mechanical action 
organ ever built by a British organ builder.  With mechanical action, the oldest type of organ action, the motions of the player are translated through long wooden strips made from cedar, commonly called “trackers.”  This provides a direct mechanical link from each note on the keyboard to the different divisions of the organ.

Mr. Trenney is the Minister of music from First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, NE.  In fact I have the opportunity to hear him play in Lincoln last weekend.
The program consisted of works spanning some 40 0 years.  The first was Bach’s Fugue in E-Flat Major (“St. Anne”).  Maybe it was warm up issues, or jitters, but I though the piece tended to wander a bit and did not seem to have the tightness that is characteristic of Bach. 

The second piece “A Teller of Tales (A Suite of Stories from Childhood) by Jennifer A. Connor.  This work is colorful and the musical representation of the childhood tales is on target, for example in The Tortoise and the Hare: The Race.  Since Trenney had premiered this work, his was very familiar with it and his playing showed it.  This was followed by a work by Sweelinck that demonstrated the organ’s ability to play early as well as romantic era pieces. 

Three French fantasies by Alain, Vierne and Franck followed.  The Franck Choral No. 1 in E Major enabled Trenney to show off the capabilities of the Mander Organ.  Finally, Trenney did humorous Improvisations on Submitted themes, including “America the Beautiful” and “Whistle While You Work.”  Each them was reworked as a Prelude, Fugue, Scherzo or Toccata.  These were cleverly done and shows Trenney’s  mastery over traditional musical forms for the organ.

Trenney introduced each piece. His presentations were engaging and informative.  He seemed very comfortable in his narrative role. 

This was most enjoyable recital by a very talented organist in a beautiful church with a magnificent organ. 

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