Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Mark Pacoe Commands the Power of the Organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Among the many reasons for guarded optimism that this city is slowly healing from the traumas inflicted over the past three years is the sudden resurgence of concert traditions that were put on ice in March of 2020. One that was badly missed was the semi-regular series of organ and choral concerts in the magnificent, reverb-heavy sonics at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mark Pacoe, who was one of the few and the brave to still be playing for audiences as late as the winter of 2020, delivered an eclectically welcome program there on the mighty Kilgen organ on Sunday afternoon

He opened with the Prelude from 20th century composer Paul Creston’s Suite for Organ, a steady, bright, unabashedly Romantic processional with a catchy, anthemic pedal melody amid a torrential swirl, to a matter-of-fact all-stops-out conclusion.

Next on the bill was a 2021 piece, Jason Roberts‘ Prelude & Fugue on the iconic Umm Kulthumm anthem Eta Omri, Pacoe quickly rising from an enigmatic introduction to a pouncing chase sequence punctuated by disquieting lulls. It’s not particularly Middle Eastern-tinged, but it’s an increasingly harried showstopper, quite possibly a reflection on our times.

Ian Farrington‘s variations on Amazing Grace, from 2017, were somewhat quieter but similarly animated, with frequent, jaunty blues riffage. Pacoe closed on a redemptively familiar note with the final two movements from Jean Langlais’ Suite Française. Pacoe played the Voix Céleste with a restless, relentless airiness, enhanced by a pace that seemed on the brisk side. That continued in the finale as he punched in with a redemptive, precise, gusty power.

The next free organ concert at St. Pat’s is on April 16 at 3:15 PM (these shows start right on time) with Ken Corneille playing his own songs plus works by 18th century French composer Médéric Corneille, and contemporary American composer and improviser McNeil Robinson

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March 22, 2023 - Posted by | classical music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, organ music, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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