“Pipe Dreams” Combines Orchestra and Organ

Posted on 4/18/2014 3:16:41 PM

The IUP Music Department will conclude the 2013–2014 performance season with a unique concert titled Pipe Dreams. It will feature the IUP Symphony Orchestra and organist Christine Clewell, and is the final presentation this year in the Lively Arts’ Sound Choices series. The concert will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Fisher Auditorium of IUP’s Performing Arts Center.

“The performance and collaboration between orchestras and organists happens very rarely,” says David Martynuik, conductor for the concert. “There is actually a great tradition of monumental works created for this particular combination; but due to limited rehearsal time and excessive expense, these works are rarely performed.”

The concert will open with Edward Elgar’s spirited “Pomp and Circumstance” March #4. This work was originally composed in 1907 and is also known as the “Song of Liberty.”

Clewell will be the featured soloist on the “Symphonie Concertante” for Grand Organ and Orchestra by Belgian composer Joseph Jongen. Born in 1873, Jongen was a musical prodigy who excelled in organ, piano, and composition beginning at the age of seven, when he was enrolled in the Liège Conservatory. Evidence of his extensive travels and studies is apparent throughout his music, and the influence of composers like Holst, Debussy, and Stravinsky are unmistakable.

In the first movement, there is interplay between a jaunty, contrapuntal tune and a more lyrical, extended melody. Both the orchestra and the organ take turns combining and recombining material from both. The second movement is a beautiful song that features some of the most delicate scoring of the entire concert. Ending the work is the high-energy Toccata in which the organist explores the full range of the instrument.

Following intermission, the concert will continue with Ottorino Respighi’s “Vetrate di Chiesa” (“Church Windows”). “Respighi, like many of his contemporaries after World War I, believed that for Italian music to remain viable, there had to be contributions by Italian composers to more genres than just opera,” says Martynuik. “His four impressions on church windows are masterpieces of programmatic music for orchestra.”

The first movement, titled “Flight Into Egypt” contains a constant “ostinato” that is evocative of a donkey’s pace. Respighi noted that the first movement is “a tonal representation of the little caravan on a starry night carrying the Treasure of the World.” The beautiful melodies that Respighi wrote are original, but heavily influenced by Western chant.

Next, “Saint Michael the Archangel” is a masterwork for the orchestra and organ and depicts the eponymous individual’s rallying of the forces of heaven to cast out Lucifer and the rebelling angels.

The third movement, “Matins of St. Clare,” is the emotional heart of the entire work and according to the composer, “St. Clare, being gravely sick and lamenting that she could not attend the Matin at the church, was transported miraculously so that she could take part in the service.”

“Saint Gregory the Great” concludes the concert. In this movement, Respighi actually uses the “Angelus” composed by Gregory himself to depict the splendors of heaven with throngs of angels and saints.

Tickets for Pipe Dreams are available in advance at the Hadley Union Building, online, or by calling 724-357-1313. Tickets remaining will be sold at the door starting at 7:00 p.m. the night of the concert. Tickets are $9 regular admission, $8 for senior citizens, and $6 for students and children.

For more information on the concert or the Sound Choices series, contact the Lively Arts at 724-357-2787 (ARTS) or e-mail lively-arts@iup.edu.

Sound Choices

Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams

May 4, 2014
8:00 p.m.

Fisher Auditorium, IUP Performing Arts Center

David Martynuik, director, and Christine Clewell, organist, will collaborate on a concert featuring music for pipe organ with orchestra.

Tickets for this event will be available on April 8, 2014.

For more information, visit Pipe Dreams, e-mail , or call 724-357-2787.