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Erben Organ Days 2020 live performance - Sphärenmusik, Op. 66, No. 2 by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1879–1925). Jared Lamenzo, pipe organ, and Lavinia Pavlish, violin, with special guest Meg Dudley, Soprano.
A multifaceted musician, German composer Sigfrid Karg-Elert played organ, harmonium, as well as several woodwind instruments. Influenced by Bach, Debussy, Schoenberg, and Grieg, who encouraged his work as a composer, he never achieved fame in his native Germany. After having served as a regimental musician during World War I, Karg- Elert was appointed instructor of music theory and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1919. His works were popular outside of Germany, but his 1932 tour of America as a concert organist was a failure, with American audiences used to the often flashy improvisations and virtuosic playing of French organists. Karg-Elert wrote a large number of pieces for the harmonium, or pump-organ, a small and very expressive instrument common in 19th-century homes as well as churches. This piece, “Music of the Spheres,” is based on the Christmas chorale Von Himmel Hoch (From Heaven Above); the chorale melody can be heard in various inversions, and the text, written by Frieda Schanz, paraphrases the hymn, addressed to children: “Dear little pilgrims draw near with your pure devoted hearts: God has opened up heaven to you.”
Friends of the Erben Organ (FREO) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization formed in 2017 with the mission of restoring, preserving, and presenting the historic 1868 Henry Erben organ located in the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, corner Mott and Prince Streets, Little Italy, NYC. Martin Scorsese is Honorary Chair of Friends of the Erben Organ. erbenorgan.org
Erben Organ Days 2020 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC.
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