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CARNIVAL: June 11-18, 2017Mini-Festivals

Directed by David Yearsley

Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 9am to 4pm
The First Lutheran Church of Boston

Cosmopolitan Encounters
Praised as universal by generations of writers and musicians, the organ was also the most culturally specific instrument. Each nation of Europe proudly defended its unique tradition of construction and performance. Rather than discouraging international exchange, however, this apparent paradox challenged the intrepid to undertake travels, to consider and often embrace foreign ideas, to form new friendships, and sometimes to court controversy. Join us for BEMF’s eighth Organ Mini-Festival as we follow these itinerant musicians on their cosmopolitan journeys in a series of splendid recitals on the Richards-Fowkes organ at Boston’s First Lutheran Church.

BEMF’s Organ Mini-Festival is supported in part by the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists


Vivaldi and Bach: Transcriptions from Italian and Venetian Influences
As the seventeenth century gave way to the eighteenth, northern European princes and their musicians flocked to Venice during Carnival season for the operatic revels. Even German provincials like J. S. Bach strove to master the Venetian style from afar, as the exciting young French organist Benjamin Alard will demonstrate in his trans-alpine extravaganza of transcriptions and transformations. Explore Bach in dialogue with Vivaldi in one of the greatest long-distance confrontations in the history of music.

Benjamin Alard


PART TWO: 11:30AM TO 1:30PM

Those Wild and Crazy Guys
Seventeenth-century Amsterdam was a western mecca of organ culture, and many young Germans made long pilgrimages from thousands of miles away to study with the Orpheus of Amsterdam, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. The lessons these young men brought back to their far-flung homes ranged from the sternly contrapuntal to the raucously sensual. A longtime luminary of the Boston organ scene, Christa Rakich brings the exuberant internationalism of these musicians to life.

Christa Rakich


The Organ Contests of Dresden: 1650, 1717, and 1789
Such was the allure of Italy that Dresden styled itself as Florence on the River Elbe. The city’s magnificent organs hosted legendary contests between great travelers such as Froberger, Marchand, and Mozart, and local champions such as Weckmann, Bach, and Hässler. These competitions—some friendly, some fierce—spark a fireworks display from accomplished scholar, author, and director of the Organ Mini-Festival, David Yearsley.

David Yearsley