Belmont Organ Trio Concert at Piccolo Spoleto

Belmont Organ Trio at Bethel Methodist


by Winston Willis

L’Organo Recital Series:  The Belmont Organ Trio – Mr Risinger is Associate Director of Music at West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tennessee. The Treybigs are faculty members at Belmont University Admission. Free (donations accepted). Sponsored by Dorinda Harmon, in memory of William “Billy” Quarterman.

The Belmont Organ Trio

The program was played on the III/51 Schlueter (2004). Bethel’s third and current pipe organ was built by the A E Schleuter Pipe Organ Company of Atlanta, Georgia. It is an electro-pneumatic instrument of three manuals and pedals, and 44 stops. Some of the original Austin organ pipes were saved and incorporated with the new pipes. It is considered to be one of the best pipe organs in the Charleston area and was dedicated with great fanfare on March 28, 2004.

William Corbett (1680-1748)
Sonata in C, Op 1, No 12 (1700)
Adagio
Largo
Vivace

John Weaver (b 1937)
Rhapsody (for flute and organ) (1967)

Godfrey Finger (1600-1723)
Moderato
Adagio – Andante
Allegro

Hans Uwe Heilscher (b 1945)
Variationen uber ‘Amazing Grace,’ Op 26 (1987)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
“Dorian” Toccata, BWV 538

Anthony Plog (b 1948)
Jocaan Trio (2010)
Andante – Allegro – Andante
Moderato
Adagio
Allegro moderato
Adagio
Freely – Allegro

My wife and I arrived early at Bethel United Methodist Church, not to be confused with Old Bethel United Methodist Church which is easy to do. Fortunately, there were no events at Old Bethel this year.

Bethel United Methodist Church is a beautiful building. I encourage you to visit their web site. The organ pipes in the facade are stenciled as are other areas of the building. The room has a beautiful pressed tin ceiling. The acoustics are excellent. There is a beautiful wooden eagle which I have never seen in any other Methodist Church. I see the brass eagle in all of the Episcopal Churches.

Since we arrived so early, we got a “sneak preview” as the group warmed up. The Treybigs had there two beautiful little girls with them while they practiced. Because of a very ornate carving which is in the center of the rail which separates the choir loft from the “preaching area,” it is difficult to see the organ console.

I was not familiar with most of the program so I can’t comment much about it except to say that it was beautifully played. Adding a trumpet, flute and piccolo with the organ always makes a unique and special sound. It was obvious that the Belmont Organ Trio are all talented musicians and enjoying playing together. The “Dorian” Toccata was the only solo organ piece. It had good tempo and registration.

I was not aware that John Weaver had written a work for flute and organ. It is a very interesting piece. I think I need to hear it a few more times to really appreciate it.

I liked the Corbett and Finger pieces with all of the instruments. All of the instruments make music from this period sound extract special. I loved music from this period.

The Variations on ‘Amazing Grace’ was beautiful. It’s hard not to like any version of a work that includes it. I am drawing a complete blank about the Jocaan Trio. I should have made notes but didn’t.

The performance lasted about 45 minutes which seemed to pass much t0o quickly. I hope to hear the Belmont Organ Trio again. Well done!

Winston Willis

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Savannah, Georgia USA
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One Response to Belmont Organ Trio Concert at Piccolo Spoleto

  1. I had forgotten that the Belmont Organ Trio handed out program notes! So I’m posting the information about the Plog Jocaan Trio.

    Anthony Plog was born in Glendale, CA and began studying music by the age of 10. Plog studied trumpet first with his father and later with Irving Bush, Thomas Stevens and James Stamp, and he received his music degree from UCLS. As a trumpeter, he has performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony and in film studios as well (soundtracks for Star Trek 1, Gremlins, Rocky 2 and 3, Altered States, and others), and was a founding member of the Fine Arts Brass Quintet and the Summit Brass. In 1990 he moved to Europe to perform with the Malmo Symphony in Sweden, and since 1993 was been a Professor at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Freibrug, Germany.

    In 2001, Plog retired from the concert stage in order to pursue a full-time composition career. He is the recipient of numerous grants and commissions, and his works have been performed in over 30 countries around the world. About his Jocaan Trio (the title of the work comes from the combination of the first two letter of each of the performers’ given names), premiered on today’s program Plog wrote: When Joel Treybig suggested the idea of writing for flute, trumpet, and organ, this combination seemed like a wonderful possibility to work with the different color potentials of the three different instruments and their combinations. So all six movements use different approaches to the thematic material, and at times the concept of color dictates the direction and use of a theme.” The combination of instruments used in the piece is as follows:

    Movement I: flute, muted trumpet and organ
    Movement II: piccolo, flute piccolo trumpet, and organ
    Movement III: flute, flugelhorn, and organ
    Movement IV: flute and muted trumpet
    Movement V: organ
    Movement IV: flute, trumpet and organ.

    Commissioned by Belmont University, Jocaan Trio was premiered by the Belmont Organ Trio at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee on September 14, 2010 with the composer in attendance. The group performed the piece by invitation at the 2012 International Trumpet Guild Conference at the River Center for the Performing Arts in Columbus, Georgia.

    —Winston

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