Reviving the old Germanic custom of Abendmusiken, Memorial Church has instituted a March series of free Sunday evening concerts. Inaugurating the series last Sunday was a recital of music for organ and strings, ranging from Purcell to Piston.
The featured artist was Lois Pardue, Assistant University Organist. Mrs. Pardue proved to be technically expert and polished--a supple and tasteful performer who knows how to use the Church's splendid Aeolian-Skinner organ to fine advantage. There was occasional insecurity in the string ensemble, but the over-all result was above par. The finest works on the program were the corner ones: Bach's Prelude and Fugue in B-minor, BWV 544, and Piston's Prelude and Allegro for Organ and Strings. The Bach was especially welcome, for it is not often heard these days; it is a lofty master-piece built on unpromising material--one more proof that, in art, manner is more important than matter. Professor Piston's piece, idiomatically written and solidly crafted, still stands up admirably after fifteen years.
The Church authorities have evidently adopted an overly reticent policy about publicizing this series, and last Sunday's audience unfortunately numbered only about 125. Next Sunday will offer contemporary works by Stravinsky, Krenek, Ives and others, performed by organist Herbert Burtis and a chorus conducted by John Ferris, the newly appointed University Choirmaster and Organist. The following week will provide music for organ and brasses; and the series will conclude with works for chorus and orchestra by Bach, Schutz, and Farrant.
The community is hereby apprised that, if last Sunday is any presager, this series is indeed a Good Thing, and ought not to be confined to March.