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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

« Not always 16 | Main | Singular performance »

April 14, 2006

Serene Alleluias

Week after week, the artists who visit Saint Paul Sunday are almost universally generous and inspired. By now, this shouldn’t surprise me, yet it still often does—movingly so. And it’s just as surprising to welcome someone whose chosen area is one I think I know (or if not quite know, at least cherish) who makes me realize that my preconceptions of it, however expansive, had barely scratched the surface of the riches within.

At 29, Paul Jacobs is one of the world’s great organists, perhaps best known for his epic performances of Bach and Messiaen, whose complete works he’s performed from memory, beginning to end, in continuous sequence. Those are near-mythic feats, to be sure, but after meeting Paul and listening to him perform, they now seem to me as much a sign of his profound love for the organ and its music as an expression of his thrilling musical powers.

In Paul’s hands, that love and those powers are infectious. He tirelessly affirms that organ music is a world unto itself—a world of great scope, beauty, virtuosity, even terror—and then beckons us inside with the charisma of a pied piper. Whatever Easter means (or may not mean) for you, I hope you, too, find this world as perfectly in tune with the astonishing promises of this day.

Posted by Vaughn Ormseth at April 14, 2006 4:57 PM

 

Comments

Dear Saint Paul
I have been delighted to receive several advices from my friends and colleagues in the USA about Paul Jacob's recital.
Paul visited us in Australia last year and is returning again during May/June 2007.
It is just so important to reach as wide an audience as possible in promoting the organ and your programming people are to be very warmly congratulated for taking this major step forward.
Paul's outstanding organ playing will I am sure be much appreciated by your listeners.
Thank you.
Sincerely
Warren Southward

By Warren C Southward at April 15, 2006 1:47 AM

 

What a privilege to hear Paul Jacobs on your program. It was indeed a treat. I have met him personally when he gave a recital at our Lutheran Church in Poughkeepsie, NY as well as his program at St. Ignatius at the ALCM Convention in New York City last summer. I liked the variety he chose for the program and as you know most of it is played without music in front of him. What an honor to know and hear Paul. Please have more programs like that on St. Paul Sunday Morning.

By Lois Hoger at April 15, 2006 10:54 AM

 

Dear SPS: Your program has been one my principal loadstones of listening pleasure on public radio for many years now. I have especially enjoyed the variety of your offerings and the opportunity they give me to experience music beyond the scope of my usual listening.
I don't recall that you have had an organist featured as a soloist previously on your programs though I'm sure you probably have and I just missed it. Hearing Paul Jacobs was like "coming home," at once stimulating and touching. It brought me back to my years as a young boy discovering that the usually boring church services I sat through every Sunday had magnificent episodes of persons called Bach, Handel, Hayden, and Mendelssohn that shortened my breathing and made my heart beat faster as I was set out in an ocean of very sensual sound from a large and wonderful instrument/performer.
Thank you for the Jacobs renewal of things past and please consider additional organ programs every once in a while.

By Rolly Meinholtz at April 16, 2006 9:59 AM

 

Bravo Saint Paul Sunday for bring us Paul Jacobs and all of your wonderful programming throughout the 25-years! This is truly one of our radio treasures.

By Richard Kost at April 16, 2006 11:09 AM

 

I'm so glad I don't celebrate Easter in the conventional way (family/church obligations) and therefore afforded the luxury of listening to Paul Jacobs' outstanding and grand organ work! I was enthralled with all the music in the repertiore of today's program. Particularly the Messiaen-which as Bill said was enchanting-and the gorgeous Reger at the close of the show! Thank you so much for another hour of memorably lovely and distinctive music!

By VINCA K RENNER at April 16, 2006 1:05 PM

 

Bravo Paul!
Thank you, St. Paul Sunday, for airing such a splendid program of organ music. Thank you especially for allowing time explaining how the organ is consturcted, registered, and played.

By Rachel at April 16, 2006 1:38 PM

 

When I walked in the door this afternoon, St. Paul Sunday was already on and I stopped in my tracks as I don't usually hear organ music on the radio. After listening for just a few moments, I said, "that really sounds like Paul Jacobs" whom I heard in concert and met personally a few weeks ago. I looked on line to see who the featured artist was and was so pleased I was correct.
At the end of the show you mentioned Reading PA, which is where I lived during the seventies. There are several beautiful organs in that area and a friend of mine had purchased the sister organ to the one in Radio City Music Hall and was attempting to reconstruct the pipes in a warehouse he stored pianos in. Paul Jacobs conducts an organ much the same way a conductor conducts the orchestra. Thank you for having him on your show for a wide audience to enjoy.

By Mary Henry at April 16, 2006 4:03 PM

 

I had read that Paul was going to be on St. Paul Sunday, but had never heard the show before. I just happened to be scanning stations on my XM Radio in my car, heard organ music, then found out it was Paul Jacobs! When arrived home, I went to your website to listen to the entire program! Your show confirmed what felt when I heard Paul play in Richardson, TX a few weeks ago and was treated to a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience! His approach to the music he plays goes well beyond the notes or "standard interpretation". There are scores of organists that do that well. However, Paul brings a fresh approach musically to everything he plays and has the virtuosity to make his ideas happen! In this particular recital, he played the Bach Prelude and Fugue in a minor in a totally original fashion, making use of colorful registrations and phrasing that brought out what, to me, was the true intent and feeling that Bach instilled in this often-played selection. BRAVO!

By Bart Ghent at April 16, 2006 9:22 PM

 

I just finished listening to the replay on Paul Jacob's program from the Easter Morning Program and felt the same rush of excitement and enthusiasm for Paul's mastery of classical organ music, my first love! What a joy to awake on Easter morning to such a wonderful program. Thanks to you for bringing Organ (and Paul) to us! Do it again, soon!

By Edward DeVries at April 16, 2006 9:54 PM

 

I have just finished listening to the St. Paul Sunday program featuring Paul Jacobs. It was a perfect ending to a Festive Day!

I was amazed at the clarity of the organ and the recording. Even though I was listening on a not particularly good radio, the sound was unbelievably clear and the ambiance of the room really came through and couldn't have been better. Also, the interview was very clear and knowledgeable. It sounded as if the interviewer knew his audience and was able to gear his questions and comments to communicate well with them. Congratulations.

I was also very impressed with the material about the program and Mr. Jacobs that was put on the website . It was terrific.

There is a wealth of great organs in outstanding venues and a resource of stellar organists, undoubtedly some of whom Mr. Jacobs is teaching at Juilliard, to play them. I sincerely hope that St. Paul’s Sunday will investigate this resource more fully in future programs. Thank you for this great Easter treat of Mr. Jacobs and the St. Ignatius Mander this evening. I hope another program like this can be scheduled for next Easter, or, preferably, before.

By Robert Russell at April 17, 2006 9:08 AM

 

For all of you who loved Sunday's program and the sound of the organ, I hope you'll visit our sister program, Pipedreams and it's extensive website: http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/

By Mary Lee at April 17, 2006 9:28 AM

 

What a wonderful service you provided to lovers of organ music and the general listening audience by including the artistry of Paul Jacobs on Saint Paul Sunday. This amazing young musician is only one of many fine organists who could enhance and expand your performing roster. On behalf of the American Guild of Organists I urge you to consider including other opportunities of featuring the "King of Instruments" (Mozart's appraisal!) on your programs.

Morgan Simmons, Treasurer and Councillor for Finance and Development, American Guild of Organists

By Morgan Simmons at April 17, 2006 9:59 AM

 

Thank you for airing the phenomenal organ recital program by Paul Jacobs. He is a virtuosic player and a consummate musician; his performances are always electrifying.
There are a number of concert halls across the country with new and exciting pipe organs--Disney Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, et al. Paul can make some suggestions for your possible future programming venues and for equally exciting organists.
Bottom line: please offer ORGAN music more frequently. There is a listening audience for the "King of Instruments."
Lois Toeppner, Westborough, MA

By Lois Toeppner at April 17, 2006 10:13 AM

 

Thank you from our family for the gift of Paul Jacobs's moving and phenomenal recital. It is transforming to hear music that you think you know played with such artistry and joy - and on an extraordinary instrument - that you feel you are hearing it for the first time - and want to hear much more. And thank you for making this music available over the Internet. It needs to be heard and shared.

Kudos to your engineers for the quality of the sound. It must have been an interesting challenge.

The conversation about the organ was illuminating, refreshing and instructive. I've found it difficult to separate organ music from church services; to learn that it can be enchanting, soul-stirring and fun all at once, is a revelation. There are phrases that have stayed with me: "It is wonderful music to internalize," "singing with the feet," "the music is the sustenance" and "the joy is sometimes terrifying." Food for the soul and mind.

I second Mr. McLaughlin's simple "wow" and his comment at the end, "Let's do some more." Please do!

By Dorothy Taishoff at April 17, 2006 12:30 PM

 

Thank you St. Paul Sunday for hosting the entirely appropriate Easter program featuring Mr. Paul Jacobs and the wonderful Ignatius Loyola pipe organ. I have listened to this particular program four times now, and suspect I will revisit your site several more times before I am satisfied I have heard it all. Because of the superb quality of your recording, I encourage you to continue to offer pipe organ programs. The congenial Mr. Jacobs established a glorious standard for organ programming. Your acknowledgement of the instrument is prescient as a legion of sharp, well trained organists promise to impact the musical world.

By Shelley Hall at April 17, 2006 5:38 PM

 

Thank you for the wonderful program, for which I shall remember this Easter. I hope that there will be more like it in the future on St. Paul Sunday.

By Chris at April 18, 2006 12:57 AM

 

Space limits in my post above didn't allow me to mention another "guest": Saint Ignatius Loyola Church itself. When people listen to this program, I hope they can envision the size and splendor of its interior, with the baptistry's Tiffany mosaics, beautifully figured altar dome and ceilings, and countless other details, including the great Mander organ. It's certainly worth a visit (and contribution) next time you're in Manhattan. Kent Tritle, director of Music Ministries at St. Ignatius, and his staff were unfailingly gracious and helpful to us as we recorded this program. To read Kent's informative article on the organ and link from there to photos of the instrument and the church, go to: www.saintignatiusloyola.org/concerts/st-ignatiusorgan.html .

By Vaughn Ormseth at April 18, 2006 9:41 AM

 

Thank you for producing the splendid program with Paul Jacobs at St. Ignatius. Hearing Mr. Jacobs on the magnificent Mander organ was a real Easter treat! The music was evocative of that impressive and mystical building, with its beautiful windows, sumptious and very tasteful interior, and of the great organ with its spectacular organ case in the rear gallery. This was the best program on the organ that I have heard recently. Paul Jacobs is a very articulate champion of the "King of Instruments" in both his mesmerizing playing and his spoken comments. Bravo!

By Stephen Roberts at April 18, 2006 7:30 PM

 

I have now listened to your wonderful broadcast of organ music for Easter Sunday three times; each time discovering more and being swept further into the spontaneous brilliant artistry of Paul Jacobs! Having seen Paul in live performance many times, I could almost visualize him "dancing" at the keyboard as he becomes personally "at one" with the music he offers us. The program was the perfect marriage of "new discovery" for the novice pipe organ listener and well seasoned aficionado alike.
I can't urge you enough to continue programming organ music featuring the amazing range of talented organists in this country,as well as the many splendid new organs and venues we have to choose from.

By Bill Brubeck at April 19, 2006 9:28 PM

 

Dear Saint Paul Sunday,
I am writing to congratulate and thank you for your ground-breaking work in the clasical music scene worldwide. The Australian music scene would do well to tkae some hints from your program- by displaying the talent of Paul Jacobs you are presenting music of the highest quality which is the best way, in my opinion to arouse interest and passion in the organ and its music. The commentary interspersed between the various pieces greatly enhances the whole experience. Congratulations! Sam Allchurch

By Sam Allchurch at April 19, 2006 9:30 PM

 

Paul Jacobs makes the pipe organ interesting and exciting for all those who have heard him live or on recordings such as this one. Many thanks to Public Radio for featuring Paul and the St. Ignatius Loyola instrument in this series. Organ music will always have many supporters, and there are relatively few opportunities to hear it on the radio or broadcast over the internet!!

By Scott Matthias at April 20, 2006 11:29 AM