Friday, April 20, 2018
Nearly twenty years ago, on All Saint’s Day in 1998, we debuted our newly-installed C.B. Fisk pipe organ when Virginia Whitmire accompanied the Parish Choir in a service that included Maurice Duruflé‘s exquisite Requiem. We were instantly amazed by the breathtakingly beautiful and stirring sounds of our new organ. The following year we filled the church for the Dedicatory Recital presented by Olivier Latry, organist of Notre Dame, Paris. Let’s fill the church again on Friday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. for a recital by world-renowned organist David Briggs. We want everyone – young, old and in between – to come to this celebration of our organ and music at St. James’s.
We all realize how blessed we are to hear C.B. Fisk Opus 112 every Sunday. Our organ makes our worship come alive! It plays hymns and anthems beautifully. But that’s not all! To really understand and appreciate how blessed we are you MUST hear the organ in recital! Only then do you understand why the pipe organ is called the “King of Instruments.”
C.B. Fisk is generally considered to be one of the best (if not the best) organ builders in the world. Fisk organs are found in cathedrals, churches, universities and concert halls throughout the world. And we have one of the finest of the 153 organs built by Fisk.
Who else is in the Fisk family tree? Let me introduce you to a new sister: Opus 150 was just installed at Christ Church, Philadelphia. She is on the cover of this month’s The America Organist. See the family resemblance? Founded in 1695 and known as “The Nation’s Church,” Christ Church hosted members of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution and Presidents George Washington and John Adams in the first decade of the newly established Republic. As you can see, our Fisk family is quite high-class.
Our recitalist, David Briggs, is an internationally renowned organist whose performances are acclaimed for their musicality, virtuosity, and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages. At the age of 17, David became Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He was the Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge University, during which time he studied organ with Jean Langlais in Paris. He was the first British winner of the Tournemire Prize at the St. Albans International Improvisation Competition; he also won the first prize in the International Improvisation Competition at Paisley, Scotland. Subsequently, David held positions at Hereford, Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
At his recital at St. James’s on April 20 David will improvise a 20-minute, four-movement organ symphony based on melodies that we give him at the recital. He won’t know the tunes that he will improvise on until we give them to him! This will be an amazing and totally exciting event. He will also will play classic organ pieces by Bach, Messiaen and Franck, plus crowd-pleasers like Haydn’s Three Pieces for Musical Clocks, Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and David’s own arrangement of Greensleeves. There will be something for everyone. You must attend.
Soli Deo Gratias – Mark Whitmire, Director of Music