THE TIFFANY SERIES
The Tiffany Series offers opportunities to hear beautiful music and notable speakers while bathed in the light of the church’s eleven original Tiffany stained glass windows.
COMING NEXT SEASON:ORGAN RECITALS BY JAMES DAVID CHRISTIE (March 2016) and FRED SWANN (April 24, 2016).
TIFFANY CONCERT CDS
“CELEBRATING THE SKINNER ORGAN”
• The Tiffany Series Concert “Celebrating the Skinner Organ” honored Brown Memorial’s 1930 Skinner Organ, Opus 839, IV/45. Organists John Walker, Marvin Mills, Michael Britt and Janet Yieh presented a “breathtaking,” “magnificent” concert according to the members of the capacity audience, many of whom were organists from the region. The program, which attendees termed “perfectly varied” and “so exciting,” included works by Guilmant, Elmore, Russell, Lefébure-Wély, Willan and Florence Price. A highlight was John Walker’s “overwhelming” performance of J.S. Bach’s “Come, Sweetest Death,” arranged at the church’s Skinner organ by Virgil Fox, Brown Memorial’s organist from 1935-1946. This CD is $15. To order, click on the “Add to Cart” button below.
Brown Memorial’s extraordinary performance of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” featuring the Chancel Choir and Frederick Swann as guest organist, with John Walker conducting, is available as a 3-CD set for $15. Note: The concert description is below. To order, select Mendelssohn’s Elijah under “Tiffany Series CDs” and then click on the “Add to Cart” button below.
Soaring "Elijah" Earns Accolades• Felix Mendelssohn, “Elijah,” with Fred Swann, organistperformed Sunday, May 17, 2009
A stunning performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” — which brought the 300-member audience to its feet and elicited prolonged cheers and pew-thumping — concluded the 2008-2009 Tiffany Series. John Walker conducted the Chancel Choir and Frederick Swann served as guest organist for this memorable event.
“Thrilling” was the word heard over and over, as people thronged Walker, Swann and the soloists after the performance. “Thrilling” was also the word chosen by choir members to describe their experience singing the oratorio.
The voices, the artistry and the sense of ensemble among the soloists came in for particular praise.
At the organ, Frederick Swann showed why his skill with accompaniment is legendary. The renowned organist had “extra-sensory perception,” as one person put it, anticipating each singer’s intention and providing a foundation from which he or she could “soar.”
Eileen Guenther spoke of hearing “the rushing of the water and the flicker of the flames” in the “countless notes” Swann played, and noted the hundreds of piston changes it took to create various effects. Guenther, past President of the American Guild of Organists and Professor of Sacred Music at Wesley Seminary, asserted, “I have seldom been so struck by a total musical experience.”
John Walker was specially praised for his expert pacing and his ability to get highly nuanced emotional expression from his finely prepared choir.
AMONG OUR RECENT TIFFANY PROGRAMS…
• The Peabody Brass Bash, conducted by David Fetter, featured 40 brass players—The Peabody Brass, the Trombody Peabones, and the Peabody trumpet ensemble. Organist Michael Britt joined the brass on three works. Audience members loved the musicians’ skill in performing the varied and interesting program that James Olin had put together. December 7, 2014
• Beau Willimon, creator and executive producer of Netflix’s House of Cards, spoke about filmmaking and about the relationship between power and faith in the celebrated political drama. At one point, Willimon showed a clip and then analyzed a scene shot at Brown Memorial, explaining how a several-minute scene could take two days to film. Attendees—virtually all of whom were House of Cards lovers—were rapt throughout this fascinating presentation. October 26, 2014
•Michael Britt presented an organ concert entitled “Soar with the Skinner.” It included Pierre Cochereau’s Suite de Danses , Gounod’s “Fantasie for the Organ” on themes from Faust, arr. Clarence Eddy, and other classical works. Britt also showed Laurel and Hardy’s silent film classic “From Soup to Nuts” (1928) and played his original organ accompaniment to the film. This was a varied, at times hilarious, and beautifully performed recital that was warmly received.
• Louis Vierne’s “Messe Solennelle”(Mass for Two Organs and Choir, Opus 16) was the featured work in a concert of French choral music performed by the combined choirs of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church and Christ Lutheran Church in the Inner Harbor. Michael Britt directed the Vierne mass, Daniel Aune played the Skinner organ, and James Houston played the Harmonium. Works by Joseph Noyon, Maurice Duruflé, Gabriel Fauré and Charles-Marie Widor were also on the program. Audience and singers alike loved this concert. March 23, 2014.
• Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church, spoke about his experiences and the role of faith and religion in public life. He focused on the struggle for LGBT rights and marriage equality, areas in which he has been a committed activist. A hardy audience braved icy roads and sleet to hear a powerful presentation by this wonderful man. December 8, 2013
• The Princeton Chapel Choir, directed by Penna Rose, made a rare U.S. appearance at Brown Memorial, performing a program of Russian and American works, including pieces by Chesnokov, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, American Sacred Harp hymns, and spirituals arranged by Moses Hogan and Jester Hairston. University Organist Eric Plutz accompanied them. They sang gorgeously, the rapt and enthusiastic 300-member audience agreed. October 27, 2013
•Marie-Louise Langlais presented a fabulous recital of French organ music from the 18th through the 20th centuries. The second half focused on the music of members of the “Sainte Clothilde School” — César Franck, Charles Tournemire, and her late husband, Jean Langlais. Mme Langlais included works that Jean Langlais had played at Brown Memorial during two concerts he gave here in the 1950s, which gave this concert special historical—and, it must be said, emotional—resonance. Following the recital, virtually all members of the large and deeply appreciative audience stayed for Mme Langlais’ film about Jean Langlais, which was shown on a screen at the front of the church, and for the reception that followed. The “exciting” program, Mme Langlais’ “brilliant and expressive” playing, and the church’s fine acoustics all came in for special praise. November 18, 2012
•Soprano Marlissa Hudson, skillfully accompanied by Marvin Mills on piano, performed African American spirituals and Art Song in “The Faces of Love,” which included a tribute to the great contralto Marian Anderson. Audience members applauded the supple, subtle and extraordinary voice and musicality of this “phenominal” lyric coloratura. March 10, 2013
•“Tiffany Treasures” was a concert featuring commissioned works that responded musically to Brown Memorial’s stunning Tiffany stained glass windows. Composers Al Fedak, Gwyneth Walker, Marvin Mills, David Schelat and Wayne Wold were among the artists whose beautiful works the Chancel Choir performed with great feeling and skill. May 19, 2013
• Ken and Brad Kolodner performed traditional Appalachian and original music on hammered dulcimer, fiddle and banjo to an appreciative audience of “old time” music lovers. Ken Kolodner is well known in this area; his son Brad Kolodner, whose delicate touch and skill on the clawhammer and gourd banjo and banjola were a marvel, showed why his growing reputation is well deserved.
• Honegger’s “King David,” was performed by the Chancel Choir and soloists Lydia Beasley, soprano, Diane Schaming, mezzo-soprano, James Cox, tenor, and Christian Waugh, baritone under the baton of Joseph Kneer. John Walker and Stephen Harouff were the organists, and David Ware narrated. With its exciting dissonances and beautiful alleluias, this dramatic modern work was enthusiastically received by the audience — and by choir members!
• Soprano Janice Chandler Eteme gave a powerful recital that had audience members cheering and begging for more. Brilliantly accompanied by JoyAnne Richardson Amani, Chandler sang works by Handel, Mozart, Fauré, and others. Tenor Devon Mercer joined her for a Verdi duet. Eteme closed the concert with “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hand” and, as an encore, another spiritual that she got “her choir”—audience members—to sing with her. A thrilling evening.
• Haydn’s “The Creation” was performed by the Chancel Choir, with David Enlow as guest organist and John Walker, conducting. Soloists were Lydia Beasley, soprano; Diane Schaming, alto; James Cox, tenor; and Christian Waugh, baritone. David Enlow gave a splendid performance on the organ of the orchestral accompaniment.
• Rev. Wintley Phipps in Concert. Renowned gospel singer Wintley Phipps performed a moving concert of spirituals. He interspersed his singing with stories that offered life lessons tinged with humor and with reflections on his U.S. Dream Academy, a tutoring and mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents. The result was a program that was varied and powerful.
• “Family Organ Extravaganza” was an extraordinary concert whose purpose was to teach young people about the organ as an instrument. Live video of the organists (two of whom were high school students) actually playing the keyboards and the pedals was projected onto a huge screen at the front of the church. A video about the inner workings of the organ—made by the church’s youth group—and Tom Hall’s narration of the “Sweet for Mother Goose” were highlights.
• “Imagine a World Without War” included the musical/AudioVisual work Portrait of Peace, by BSO member Brian Prechtl, a talk by longtime peace activist Elizabeth McAlister, and a performance by Ugandan musician Kinobe and his group, Soul Beat Africa.
• A Gospel Music Festival, directed by Dr. Barbara Baker, was rousing and inspiring. The music was performed by the combined choirs of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Church and Colesville United Methodist Church of Silver Spring, MD.
…and speakers Harry Belafonte and Marian Wright Edelman!
|James David Christie Frederick Swann "Celebrating the Skinner Organ" CD Marie-Louise Langlais Beau and Robin on "House of Cards" set Organ Extravaganza, with big screen|