Macy’s Grand Court organist Peter Richard Conte presents three works selected from two wonderful concerts on this month's Wanamaker Organ Hour, Sunday, November 6th at 5 pm.
Peter performed the first two works this past summer for the Organ Historical Society. César Franck’s Chorale No. 1 was one of the Trois chorals that Franck composed in 1890 while convalescing after a terrible car accident. He died soon after from complications from the accident, but not before he left behind these three beautiful works, the first of which we’ll hear on the broadcast.
From the same concert, Peter performs the Nocturne from a suite of incidental music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the product of the 17-year-old Felix Mendelssohn. Twice, Mendelssohn composed for Shakespeare's play: in 1826 he wrote a concert overture, Op. 21, and in 1842 the incidental music, Op. 61.
The incidental music was requested by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the new King of Prussia, to accompany an actual performance of the play. The Nocturne comes from this suite of music. Andrew Ennis arranged the work for the Wanamaker Organ.
The broadcast concludes with Peter’s stunning transcription of Sir Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations, performed in 2007 for the American Institute of Organ Builders.
This is the composition that put Elgar on the map. Elgar composed this set of variations to evoke sketches of the composer’s 14 friends and one dog. Interestingly, Elgar’s title for the work was Variations on an Original Theme. After he delivered the work to his publisher, “Enigma” was tacked on to the title, as Elgar had revealed that as the name of the original theme. But he never did totally reveal what the actual Enigma was. Enigma, indeed!
During the program, we’ll hear details regarding the free, annual, store-hours concert, Christmas in the Grand Tradition, Friday December 9th at 7 pm, featuring flugelhornist Andrew Ennis and Peter at the console of the Wanamaker organ.
If you’ve never heard the organ live, there’s no better time than when the holiday tunes are emanating from the pipes of that massive instrument.
The Wanamaker Organ Hour airs the first Sunday of each month, including this Sunday, November 6th at 5 pm on WRTI.
César Franck: Chorale No. 1 in E major, from Trois chorales
Felix Mendelssohn: Nocturne, from Incidental Music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (arr. Ennis)
Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations (arr. Conte)