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Organ recital Sept. 8 features Joby Bell

BOONE—Joby Bell will present an organ recital Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall at Appalachian State University. Admission is free.

Bell is university organist and  an assistant professor in Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music.

The program includes “Toccata-Sortie” by Théodore Dubois, two  movements from “Symphony No. 6” by Charles-Marie Widor, “Sketches for Pedal-Piano, Op. 58” by Robert Schumann, “Gospel Prelude” by William Bolcom and “Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532” by Bach.

Dubois’ toccata is a departure from the flamboyant style of most toccatas and is described as more charming than flamboyant. Widor symphonies for solo organ are loosely considered autobiographical, reflecting his maturing from a young socialite to a gentleman.

While the German Romantic composers are best known for their symphonies and chamber music, many of them were also organists. “Sketches for Pedal-Piano” is one of several compositions Schumann wrote for organ.

Bolcom’s composition is based on the well-known gospel songs “O Zion Haste” and “How Firm a Foundation.” Part of a collection of 12 compositions for organ, the pieces explore the treatment of familiar church songs with contemporary concert writing.

“They are extremely difficult for the organist and are not intended to soothe the listener nor encourage singing along,” Bell said.

Bach’s well-known prelude and fugue concludes the recital. “The sheer virtuosity of the fugue is the product of a young genius composer who perhaps had not quite learned to channel his virtuosity in service to the music,” Bell said. “The organ can be an appealing diversion as well as a serious musical instrument, and audiences should have no problem enjoying this piece for its music – along with its shameless pyrotechnics of pedal scales, lightning quick manual work and a fiendishly unrelenting fugue.”

Bell also will perform the program in October as the inaugural concert on the new organ at Houston Baptist University built by Orgues Létourneau.

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