Organ Music Dominates March Concerts

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: February 23, 2006 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N. Y. -- The spotlight will be on organ music in March at the University at Buffalo, as two renowned performers will appear in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on the North (Amherst) Campus.

Carlo Curley, one of the world's foremost concert organists, will perform back-to-back concerts on two well-known Buffalo organs. Curley will perform on March 3 on the legendary Fisk concert organ in Lippes Concert Hall. The following evening, he will present a different program on the Margaret Wendt memorial organ in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Buffalo.

Both programs, co-sponsored by the UB Department of Music, the Buffalo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, will take place at 8 p.m.

On March 31, well-regarded local organist and UB faculty member Roland E. Martin will present the second recital of this season with programming dedicated to Couperin's two great organ masses.

The Department of Music's March concert schedule also includes a March 7 recital by UB faculty member and highly regarded violinist Movses Pogossian to announce the release of his new CD.

Both of Curley's concerts will include concert commentary by Michael Barone, host of American Public Media's "Pipedreams" program, which is heard weekly at 10 p.m. on Sundays on WNED-94.5 FM.

Born into a musical family in North Carolina in 1952, Curley attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. He studied privately with renowned pedagogues Arthur Poister and Robert Elmore, as well as with Virgil Fox and Sir George Thalben-Ball, two of the world's greatest organists. Early in his career, he was invited to play at the White House, and made history as the first classical organist to give a solo organ recital there.

Today, he tours the world, having played in every state and province in North America and Canada, as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia and Hong Kong. He is one of only a few artists in the world performing classical organ concerts and recitals who is not supported by a teaching or church appointment.

In addition to his duties as a UB faculty member, Martin serves as director of music for both St. Joseph's University Church and Buffalo's Freudig Singers chamber choir. He will perform with tenor Jeffrey Porter and organist Gabriel Goodwin at 8 p.m. March 31 in Lippes hall.

Couperin's organ masses will be performed by Martin and Porter with the tenor singing the text of the mass, one line at a time, from the balcony of Lippes Concert Hall. After each line is sung, the organ will respond antiphonally.

The Couperin masses are held at the pinnacle of French Baroque organ music. They were revered highly by Couperin's contemporaries, and even were copied by hand by J.S. Bach. The second of the two masses is larger and more serious than the first, which Martin calls "folkloric in nature, tuneful and oh so French." The second mass, a bit "more serious," he says, is based on plainsong melodies.

The second part of the program will present lighter fare for the organ, including "Toot Suite" by musical humorist P.D.Q. Bach for organ four hands.

As an active composer and conductor, Martin has received numerous grants, including two from "Meet the Composer" and two from the Pennsylvania State Council of the Arts. Recent works include the critically acclaimed "A Medieval Triptych," commissioned by the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., and "Annunciation," commissioned by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Violinist Movses Pogossian's March 7 concert, which will take place at 8 p.m. in Lippes hall, will celebrate the release of his new CD, "Blooming Sounds: Works for Unaccompanied Violin," which was recorded at UB.

The event will be preceded by an informal talk from the stage with Pogossian and UB composer David Felder, whose work, "Another Face," is included on the CD. The preconcert talk will begin at 7:15 p.m. Following the recital, Pogossian will attend a postconcert reception for concertgoers in the Slee lobby.

The first half of the recital program will feature two pieces from the new CD—the title piece, "Blooming Sounds" by Vache Sharafyan, and Paul Hindemith's "Sonata." The concert, which marks Pogossian's five-year anniversary as a UB faculty member, also include two major works of Bach, since Pogossian's first concert at UB was an all-Bach program.

The layout of the Bach portion of the concert is unusual. The movements of "Partita in E Major, BWV 1006" are interspersed with short pieces by Eugene Ysaÿe and György Kurtág, who were inspired by Bach.

Pogossian was a prize-winner in the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Competition and the youngest-ever first-prize winner of the U.S.S.R. National Violin Competition, previous winners of which include David Oistrakh and Gidon Kremer. He made his American debut performing the Tchaikovsky "Violin Concerto" with the Boston Pops in 1990.

Tickets for both Curley's UB and Trinity Lutheran Church programs are $12 each, with discounts for seniors and students, or $20 for the package. Tickets for Martin's and Pogossian's recitals are $5,

For further information on how to obtain tickets to the Curley performances, call 645-2921.

Tickets for Martin's and Pogossian's performances may be obtained at the Slee Hall box office from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the Center for the Arts box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and at all Ticketmaster outlets, including