TUESDAY 20th MARCH , 7.30 – 8.30 pm
David Gammie plays ‘one of the outstanding organ masterpieces of the 20th century’
‘JOB’ by Petr Eben
and ‘ECCE HOMO’ by Klement Slavicky
with Dr William Griffiths (reader)
Petr Eben (1929-2007) “A piece of music is not a released balloon, but a ball thrown and waiting for the hands which would catch it…”
For this year’s special Lent Recital, David is returning to a major contemporary work that always makes a deep impression on everyone who hears it – ‘wonderfully powerful and moving’, as one parishioner has described it. The Czech composer `Petr Eben was a brilliant organist and improviser, whose profound Catholic faith sustained him through long years of adversity under both Nazi and Communist regimes. One of his specialities was the performance of whole concerts of improvisations, in the form of musical illustrations of well-known stories from the Old Testament, interspersed with bible readings.
Destiny – Faith – Acceptance of Suffering – Longing for Death – Despair & Resignation – The Mystery of Creation – Penitence & Realisation – God’s Reward.
The eight movements of ‘Job’ vividly evoke the spiritual and psychological drama of this extraordinary tale, in which Job, ‘the greatest of all the men of the East’, becomes the innocent object of a wager between Satan and God, loses everything, but learns to accept his suffering with humility and finally receives a great reward. Eben places a specifically Christian interpretation on the story, and bases his triumphant finale on an old Czech hymn about the redemptive love of Christ (Christ the model of humility), ‘for Christ,’ he said, ‘is truly the personification of the innocent sufferer to the very end.’
As a prelude to ‘Job’, David plays another powerful and moving work by a Catholic Czech composer, reflecting on a similar theme. Klement Slavicky’s ‘Ecce Homo’ is the first of a set of three biblical ‘Frescoes’, inspired by the words of Pilate in St John’s Gospel, when he handed over Jesus to the crowd in purple robe and crown of thorns, ‘Behold, the man! Take him and crucify him, for I find no fault in him.’