Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Speed Tour of Salt Lake City

"There's nothing remarkable about it.
All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time,
and the instrument plays itself."

~ Johann Sebastian Bach

I have enough trouble playing the piano with two hands. Adding feet to the mix would be a recipe for disaster, no matter what J.S. Bach has to say about it.

While in Salt Lake City, we heard a free organ recital in the very space the 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir made famous.

Ironically, the organist had Kansas connections. Douglas O'Neill got his doctorate in church music from the University of Kansas. Sujin Yoon, who was also on the July 31 program, had a doctorate in organ performance from KU.

And, boy, did they make the organ sing as they played a program that ranged from Felix Mendelssohn's Overture to St. Paul to the ragtime feel of Sweet Sixteenths. (If you click on the links and listen to the music, you'll notice that the organists on youtube - as well as the Salt Lake musicians - have assistants to turn pages and pull organ stops. Maybe that's what I'm missing in my quest to play organ ... yeah, right!)

Though the organ has been rebuilt and enlarged several times since it was originally built in 1867, the original casework and some of Ridges' pipes still remain in the organ today. The current organ was completed in 1948 and contains 11,623 pipes, 147 voices (tone colors) and 206 ranks (rows of pipes).

Even though I don't believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints religious doctrine, it doesn't take away from the beauty of the music, the unequaled acoustics and the magnificence of the tabernacle and the grounds.

The temple at sunset as we left the tabernacle concert

There will be people who think we should have avoided going to Temple Square. But no one tried to force their religious viewpoint on us, even during a guided tour of the Conference Center.

And you certainly can't quibble with the mission statement of the Temple Square Performances, of which the free organ recital was a part:
Here in the heart of the city, Temple Square Performances seek to exemplify the hearts of a people: a strong belief in families, respect for all cultures and creeds, and a commitment to wholesome values. ... We celebrate all that is virtuous, lovely and praiseworthy.
The Great Salt Lake is as much a part of Salt Lake City as Temple Square. So we made a quick foray into the north marina as we headed out of town, just so we could say we saw it.

We can't speak to the buoyancy of the water. All we did was stick our hands in.

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