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March 1 faculty recital showcases the talents of organist Joby Bell

BOONE—Joby Bell, professor of organ at Appalachian State University, will perform masterworks for organ during a March 1 recital. His performance begins at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

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Bach’s “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott BWV 651” opens the program. Composed later in life, Bach’s composition is one of a set of 18 chorales known as the “Leipzig Chorales” that represent Bach’s most mature writing for the organ. The first chorale in the set, based on the Lutheran hymn “Come Holy Ghost,” is an aural representation of the fire of the Holy Spirit. The hands play “fiery” broken chords and function as an accompaniment to the actual chorale melody, which is played slowly on the pedal.

“Freu’ dich sehr, O meine Seele” by Georg Böhm is next on the program. Although usually included among the dramatic, pre-Bach, “third-generation” North Germans, Böhm exhibits French and Italian influence in his writing, with heavy ornamentation and somewhat reserved changes of texture. This influence extends into this chorale-based composition, which was originally written for the harpsichord.

The work of French organist and composer Marcel Dupré is featured with “Prelude and Fugue in A-flat, Op. 36, No. 2.” Dupré’s music often invokes a dark quality of the high Gothic architecture of Parisian churches and instruments, but this composition, after a somber opening, gives an artistic nod to the genius of Bach.

The program concludes with Brahms’ “Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24” transcribed for organ by Rachel Laurin. The 25 landmark variations from the original work for solo piano are each only a single page long, which Brahms organized into small groups or “suites.”

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