Organ classics on Friday – lunchtime at St Stephen’s Macquaries Street

This Friday’s lunchtime concert at St Stephen’s in Macquarie Street features the Assistant Organist at the church, David Tagg.

In this concert, Tagg performs organ music written by composers who, apart from Samuel Barber, studied the organ from an early age and were expert performers in the art. These works are considered amongst the cornerstones of the organ repertoire.

Opening the programme is JS Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G Major BWV 541, composed during his time at Wiemar (1703) when he was still a very young musician.

Samuel Barber knew little about the organ. However, his hauntingly spiritual Adagio for Strings,originally the second movement from the String Quartet opus 11 was transcribed for organ by William Strickland with Barber’s consent.  

Camille Saint- Saëns was a highly regarded organist in Paris where he also worked for 20 years at the Church of the Madeleine. His Symphony No 3 opus 78 ‘Organ’ (1886) has become one of the most recognised works for the organ. David Tagg will be performing Saint-Saens’ Fantaisie in E flat, opus 99 no 3 (1894).

Mendelssohn composed six sonatas for the organ. Tagg will play the last in the series, Sonata no. 6 in D minor which looks back in time, based on the Lutheran Bach chorale Vater unser im Himmelreich, (BWV 416). The sonata is in three moevements: (i) Chorale and variations: Andante sostenuto – Allegro molto (ii) Fuga (iii) Finale:Andante.

Finally, 19th century  French composer Léon Boëllmann studied organ and later was the organist at the Parisian church of St Vincent de Paul. Boëllmann’s Suite Gothique from which David Tagg will play the Toccata is one of his signature works.

David Tagg was appointed the Organ Scholar at St Stephen’s, Macquarie Street in February 2009 and became Assistant Organist in July 2011. David attended Knox Grammar School and continues to study the organ with Peter Kneeshaw AM. During his schooling and later studies David has had the opportunity to play at a number of venues including the Sydney Town Hall, St Mary’s Cathedral, Melbourne’s St Paul’s Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral in the UK. For the last three years he has played at the Sydney Opera House’s Open Day celebrations. David is in his 3rd year of a Bachelor of Design in Architecture at the University of Sydney.

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