Richard J. Clark on “Sounds from the Spires” with Dr. Jennifer Pascual – Podcast

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on SIRIUS XM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel. Dr. Pascual is an incredibly down to earth and welcoming host!

Listen here to the interview on 9.24.2012:

The following pieces are featured on the program:

I am deeply grateful to my amazing volunteers and supportive colleagues without whom I am nothing!
Special Thanks to recording engineer Evan Landry

“Gaudens Gaudebo” at Methuen and Basilica of the National Shine | Rosalind Mohnsen, organ

Friday, September 21, 2012 @8PM organist Rosalind Mohnsen performs at the Methuen Memorial Music Hall for the Fall Scholarship Fund Organ Recital. On the program will be my “Gaudens Gaudebo — I Will Greatly Rejoice!”
Rosalind’s Performance of Gaudens Gaudebo at the Basilica of the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D. C., July 28th, 2012:

Gaudens Gaudebo—I Will Greatly Rejoice relies on three themes, two Georgian chants, played off of a third theme. All three are introduced within the first 4 measures. With rising and rhythmic improvisational manner, the Gregorian Chant, Gaudens Gaudebo is most prominent from the very beginning.

 Then, suggested in places is the familiar Mode I, Plainchant, Ave Maria.

Most conceptual of all, and often the accompaniment for the first two themes, is a third theme—the “Yes!” theme of Mary’s joy in doing God’s will. Merely hinted at in measures 3-4, it first appears in its fullness at measure 18:

Mary’s reply to God in the “Yes!” theme, a period of struggle and doubt arrives, followed by prayer.  In any life-altering decision, one may be plagued with questions, fear of the unknown, and doubt. No matter how certain, one must confront these emotions, followed by prayer: Measures 43-53 enter into an improvisational variation upon Gaudens gaudebo. It is mixed with great uncertainty, a nervous playfulness of youth, doubt, but still struggling forward. This section is immediately followed by an en prière variation of Gaudens gaudebo (m. 54-65). It is a time of deep meditation, a prayer to find clarity, certainty, and the strength to carry out God’s will.

From this point forward, the Gaudens gaudebo theme is presented with great rhythmic energy, as Mary carries out what she consented to do.  (m. 66-94)

At measure 97, an arpeggiated “Yes!” theme returns in the manuals, with variations of Gaudens gaudebo in the pedal. This chorale section travels through various keys, finally giving way to the toccata (m. 132).  This toccata, with a rhythmic “Yes!” drives the Ave Maria plainchant in the pedal.

Working towards culmination, the manuals slowly rise and fall in chromatic harmonies. It is at this time a fourth theme appears only once (m. 144-156): the Easter Compline hymn Regina Caeli is quoted in its entirety summarizing Mary’s necessary role in salvation history: “For He whom you have humbly borne for us, Alleluia! Has arisen as He promised! Alleluia!” One sings of motherhood and resurrection in the same verse.

Finally, all three major themes are declared with great youthful exuberance, and joy!

“Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.” –St. Anselm

“Ascent to Freedom” in Russia Mark Husey, organ

My solo organ work of five movements “Ascent to Freedom” recently received its Russian Federation première this past week in the cities of Kislovodsk (Кислово́дск) and Yessentuki (Ессентуки́). These cities are in Southwest Russia in between the Black and Caspian Seas. Performed by virtuoso organist Mark Husey, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Peter’s Church in Columbia, South Carolina, his concerts in Russia also included American composers Samuel Barber, Daniel Pinkham and Whitney Eugene Thayer, three of four who are New Englanders!

Regarding the billboard, Jason Villarreal Frias writes: “Восхождение к свободе=Ascent to Freedom is the big headline at the top above the Statue of Liberty and your name is in there Р. Кларк! (R. Clark) … the Russian pronunciation sounds like this: ‘Voskhozhdyeniye k svobodye.’

Click here to listen to Richard J. Clark’s live performance of “Ascent to Freedom” on the 1875 E. & G. G. Hook & Hastings, Opus 801, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA.