Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 8:32 am | A Few Clouds 54º


Gerald Carpenter: ‘Music at Trinity’ Showcases Brian Chin on Trumpet, Thomas Joyce on Organ

The next “Music at Trinity” concert — at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Barbara — is called “The Majesty of Trumpet & Organ,” and it celebrates the powerful affinity between those two instruments.

Brian Chin brings his trumpet to Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday concert. (chinmusik.com photo)
Brian Chin brings his trumpet to Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday concert. (www.chinmusik.com photo)

You might reasonably expect that the program for this concert would be all but exclusively baroque, but as you can see below (and will hear Sunday), only two of the six works come from that era. The other four are products of the 20th century.

Trumpeter Brian Chin and organist (not to mention organizer) Thomas Joyce open with the Sonata in D Major, G.1 by Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709). Then follows Joyce with the Toccata in F Major, BuxWV 156 of Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707).

The rest of the program, performed either by Chin and Joyce, or Joyce alone, consists of “The Hollow Men,” Opus 25 by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987); the Prayer of St. Gregory, Opus 62b, (1946) by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000); the Improvisations on the “Te Deum” for Solo Organ (1930) by Charles Tournemire (1870-1939); and the Sonata for Trumpet and Organ, 1995 by Naji Hakim (born 1955).

The Persichetti was inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem of the same name (“This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper”). Virtually everything this American composer touched turned to very high-carat gold, and this dreamy, melancholy masterpiece might even be more valuable than that. Originally written for trumpet and string orchestra, it was beautifully translated by the composer for trumpet and organ.

The Hovhaness piece is actually an Intermezzo from his 1946 opera, Etchmiadzin, Opus 62. “​Etchmiadzin” is the popular name for the Armenian city of Vagharshapat, which was once the capital of Armenia, and remains the main religious center for Armenian Christianity. Hovhaness, born in Massachusetts as Alan Vaness Chakmakjian, was extremely proud of his Armenian antecedents, and he is often identified as an “Armenian” composer.

But he was an American composer, too. The trumpet, you will recall, plays a significant role in his most famous work, the Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain,” Opus 132 (1955).

Tournemire was a child prodigy, and the youngest pupil ever accepted by César Franck. In 1898, when Gabriel Pierné resigned as organiste titulaire at the Basilique Ste-Clotilde in Paris (Franck’s old church), Tournemire took over the position and kept it until his death in 1939. At the same time, he was a professor of Chamber Music at the Conservatoire de Paris, and also published a biography of Franck (1931).

In 1930, Tournemire recorded a number of improvisations and other organ pieces. The original set of 10 78s won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1931. The improvisations recorded on this occasion, including these on the “​Te Deum,” were later transcribed by the celebrated organist and composer, Maurice Duruflé.

Hakim’s name comes from his native Lebanon, but musically, he is entirely French. He succeeded Olivier Messiaen as organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris.

This concert is free, although public contributions are always welcome. Trinity Church is located at 1500 State St. at Micheltorena Street.

For more information, call Trinity Episcopal Church at 805.965.7419, or contact music minister Thomas Joyce at [email protected].

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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