Organ events for Fall 2017 include a female Hamlet, French improvisation, and Lutheran Magnificats

With the first Midday Music for Organ recital on Wednesday, September 7th, University Organist Annette Richards opens this season’s wide-ranging organ concert series. Across the semester recitals by local and guest artists will explore music that takes us from early 17th-century Spain and Germany on the Baroque organ in Anabel Taylor chapel, to late 20th-century music for organ four-hands on the Aeolian-Skinner organ in Sage Chapel.

Highlights include a screening of the 1926 silent movie Hamlet, starring Danish actress Asta Nielsen as a female Hamlet, with a new musical score created by theatre organist Dennis James and early keyboardist Michael Tsalka (Sage Chapel, September 14th, 8pm), and a recital on the new French romantic style organ at St Luke’s Lutheran Church in Collegetown by renowned French organist Christophe Mantoux (September 23rd, 5pm). Later in the semester, two recitals will continue the 2017 celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation: Annette Richards (October 14th, 5pm, Anabel Taylor chapel) will explore the hidden musical life of women associated with the organ in 17th- and early 18th-century Lutheran Germany, while DMA candidate Anna Steppler and visiting Swedish guest Sofia Östling (November 16th, 8pm, Sage Chapel) will present 20th-century reflections on the Reformation, with music for duetting organists by Naji Hakim and Kenneth Leighton.

In Midday Music concerts on alternate Wednesdays throughout the semester Richards, Steppler and Östling will be joined by DMA candidate Michael Plagerman, and Professor of Music David Yearsley. Annette Richards’ opening recital on September 7th at 12:30pm gives an English accent to the German-style organ in Anabel Taylor chapel, presenting music by Henry Purcell, John Stanley and Felix Mendelssohn: a variety of sounds, colors and musical idioms, all of them designed as ‘Voluntaries’ for the beginning and end of the English church service. A lively start to a vibrant semester of organ music at Cornell.