Higbee: Grice performs ‘fine’ organ concert

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

By Dale Higbee
For The Salisbury Post
The splendid Casavant organ in the main sanctuary of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury came to life on Sunday afternoon in a fine recital by Donald Grice, Associate Organist and Choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem. The program was a nice sampler, ranging from a lovely chorale prelude by Buxtehude (1637-1707) to the attractive “Variations on The Old Hundredth” by Denis Bedard (b. 1950), and including J. S. Bach’s inventive Prelude and Fugue in G, BWV 541. The main course was Cesar Franckís splendid Choral No. 2, which was given a masterful performance by Dr. Grice. St. Johnís Casavant is a fine organ, but to fully appreciate this wonderful piece it needs to be heard on a big Cavaille-Coll organ in a church in Paris, such as the Madeleine, with a reverb time of several seconds. Next came the charming ěFive Pieces for a Flute Clockî (a self-playing mechanical instrument invented in the 18th century) arranged for organ, followed by the beautiful and somber ěPsalm Prelude, Set 1, No.1î by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). Bringing the program to a brilliant close was Grice’s superb rendition of the Final from Symphonie No. 1 by Louis Vierne (1870-1937), which is often played as the recessional to weddings.
The next organ recital on St. John’s series will feature Andre Lash, an internationally known recitalist, teacher, church musician, and academician, who is on the faculty at the UNC-Greensboro School of Music.
Check the date now on your calendar: Sunday, September 25, 3 p.m. It will be special, so donít miss it!
Dale Higbee is music director of Carolina Baroque.