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Sunday, May 13, 2012. 3:00 p.m.
Thomas Weisflog, Organ
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Reserved $35, General Admission $25, Student $20
Reserved and GA tickets will be $5 more at the door
The centerpiece of the concert is Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle, for choir and organ, composed in 1899. The greatest organist of his time, Vierne played and composed for the great Parisian organs of St. Sulpice and Notre Dame. As the Messe is one of the grandest compositions of the Golden Age of French organ composition, no organ in Chicago is more suited to this repertoire than the recently restored E.M. Skinner organ at The University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, now the largest organ in Chicago. Nor is any organist more suited to perform the work with Chorale than the Chapel organist, Thomas Weisflog. A heartfelt and sincere work, it also utilizes all of the sonic fireworks that the instrument and the choir are capable, entirely filling the Chapel with sound.
This concert will also feature two ethereally beautiful a cappella works: J.S. Bach’s double choir motet, Komm, Jesu, komm, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, utilizing the extraordinary acoustic properties of the chapel’s choir loft.
The E.M. Skinner Organ (opus 634)
Built with the Chapel itself in 1928, Rockefeller Chapel’s regal organ is one of four University organs of the American organ-builder E.M. Skinner (the others being at Yale, Princeton, and Michigan). These organs are considered among the finest examples of 20th century romantic organs built in America. Rockefeller’s organ, Opus 634, was unveiled at a recital by Lynnwood Farnam, reportedly to a crowd of over 2,500 admirers, on November 1, 1928.
In the Rockefeller organ, Skinner fully invested his genius for realizing a full orchestral sound, with a complete collection of voices and many soft ethereal effects. Many of the large pipe scales, which are necessary to achieve a full sound in a building the size of the Chapel, are no longer built and thus cannot be found in contemporary organs. The original Chapel organ included four manuals, and had 6,610 organ pipes in 108 ranks; since its 2008 restoration, it now has 8,565 pipes in 132 ranks.
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel — The concert venue