Tuesday, November 1, 2011

U of A Department of Music Welcomes New Continuo Organ to Con Hall

From Sound and Noise · University of Alberta Music Students on Music

Dr. Marnie Giesbrecht, Professor of Organ and Early Music at the University of Alberta, welcomed the Department of Music’s new continuo organ to Convocation Hall at the October 24th Monday Noon Music concert. She and several graduate students presented a concert of organ works on both the new organ and Con Hall’s Casavant pipe organ.

A continuo organ, or ‘orgue positif’ in French, is nothing like the pipe organ you have seen in your local church. This instrument is no more than 5-feet tall, 5-feet wide and 2-feet deep. The manual has 50 keys and the organist tends to play these notes while standing. The pipes are within the instrument itself, compared to your standard organ whose pipes are located throughout the hall.

Though the Department gave the instrument its official welcome earlier in October, the intimate Monday Noon Music setting provided Dr. Giebrecht another opportunity to show it off. She played short pieces by Frescobaldi and Cynthia Luk played a Verso by Pachelbel. The rest of the works, which were mostly no later than Mendelssohn, came from Con Hall’s pipe organ. Hyejin Lee, Wendy Niewenhuis, Somang Lam and, once again, Cynthia Luk all played beautifully. Dr. Giesbrecht’s engaging comments on both the instruments and the repertoire were a great addition.

Future events involving organ students at the University of Alberta can be found at the Department of Music’s website: http://www.music.ualberta.ca/.

-Mark Wilkinson


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