Thomas Wikman

Brilliance Displayed in Youth and Age

Wikman plumbs works of Widor, Jéhan Alain

October 15, 2011 -- Two composers who lived to ripe old ages, and two who perished young, wrote the organ works to be explored at the November concert of the Paul Manz Organ Series.

The free midday concert by Thomas Wikman features works of Charles Widor, Vincent Lübeck, Giovanni Pergolesi and Jéhan Alain. Pergolesi and Alain died at the ages of 26 and 29 respectively, while Lübeck and Widor attained to 86 and 93.

The music begins at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

"Vincent Lübeck (1654-1740) presided over one of the greatest Baroque organs -- St. Nikolai in Hamburg," according to Wikman, who is Artistic Director for the Manz series. "Bach played that instrument and was, shall we say, envious."

The concert will start with Lübeck's "short, bright Prelude and Fugue in F Major," Wikman added.

"It's very exuberant and extraverted.

"Pergolesi's (1710-1736) charming Sonata in F Major is a very early -- yet remarkably sophisticated -- example of the Classical style."

Next follow two movements from the Third Symphony of Charles Widor (1844-1937). In the first, Prelude, "we find Widor at his most passionate and grieving," said Wikman. "Then comes the Adagio, which is almost unimaginably sweet and serene."

Two contrasting pieces by Jéhan Alain (1911-1940) -- including the legendary Litanies -- show off the composer-performer's brilliant organ technique and Orientalisms, Wikman concluded.

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Thomas Wikman and Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen at LSTC