The pipe organ is not simply an instrument that is played in churches. It also provides astonishingly beautiful music, as it has done for centuries. More than five hundred people who attended the first concert of the Piping Hot Festival on November 4 in West St. Paul will attest to that.
For more information about Piping Hot, go to its websiteor call 651-290-1087.
Final performance: Sunday, November 11, 4 p.m., House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul
The weeklong Festival is hosted by Pipedreams, a twenty-five year old Twin Cities celebration of the pipe organ. “We were delightfully surprised by the very impressive turnout; and the elegant and impassioned playing by Hans Fagius was everything we expected,” said Pipedreams host Michael Barone of the second in the series of four performances on November 6.
Four highly acclaimed international touring organists are the centerpieces of Piping Hot. All recitals are free. All music lovers are invited to attend master classes and conversational workshops during the Festival. The final event will be held on Sunday, November 11, at 4 p.m. at House of Hope Presbyterian Church on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
Jean-Baptiste Robin, organist at St. Peter’s Cathedral in France – one of the most important historic churches and historic organs in that country – makes his Minnesota debut on Sunday. Only 23 years old when he got the position at the Cathedral, Robin consistently delights his audiences. His repertoire will include two of his own compositions and he will also create two improvisations on themes that will be handed to him by the host moments before the performance.
Despite its long-standing connection to the church, the pipe organ was not invented with any religious intent. Organs are as comfortable in concert halls (such as the Benson Great Hall at Bethel University) and theaters as they are in churches.
The pipe organ is an artistic combination of architecture, wood- and metal-crafting, mechanical engineering and sonority. According to Barone, “It is endowed with a palette of rich color with which a player can create dramatic, compelling, and extraordinary musical frescoes. The best musicians are able to take this challenging, nearly impossible contraption and make it sing as though it had a soul.”
Jennifer Holder, Ed.D. is a freelance writer in the Twin Cities.