April 10, 2021
Classic Series IV
Sibelius Finlandia, op. 26
Poulenc Organ Concerto , g minor
Dr. Katya McMahan, Organ
Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 in c minor (organ)
The pipe organ is often called “The King of Instruments” as it embodies a full complement of orchestral sounds. More often heard in churches throughout the land, the organ also doubled in theaters as a prelude to movies. Beaumont’s Jefferson Theatre was the last of such “Theatre Organs” frequently played before movies and sometimes accompanying silent films. Sadly, the Julie Rogers Theatre was built without “the king” due to the onerous task and expense of upkeep. To the rescue, the age of technology, we have an electronic instrument that enables SOST to perform such grand works as we’ll hear; The Poulenc Organ Concerto as well as Camille Saint-Saen’s Third Symphony, commonly known as the Organ Symphony.
Finlandia, a new concept of “Tone Poem,” is an overture-styled piece that tells a brief story. Sibelius describes the oppression of the Finnish people, followed by the serenity of a hymn-like theme, ending with a triumphal finish. It is a wonderful pictorial vista of the seasons and challenges of living in the fjords of the composer’s native land.
Francis Poulenc was a novice at writing for organ, yet a commission, followed by a spiritual journey, served as the inspiration for his first such work. To do so, he studied the famous organ works of JS Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude to learn the form of such compositions as well as guidance from famed organist Maurice Duraflé to learn the colorful capabilities of the instrument.
Saint-Saens’ symphony no. 3 is also known as his organ symphony, as it treats the pipe organ like a concerto soloist. The themes from the final movement are frequently used in films such as Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, and originally in Impressions of France-also heard at EPCOT in Disney World.
2 Shows: 1pm and 7:30pm