Music for August 1

Sunday’s keyboard voluntaries at 9:00 am include an excerpt from Victor Herbert’s Symphonic Fantasy for the Aeolian Organ. The piece was commissioned by the Aeolian Organ Company around the turn of the 20th century for their player organs and published on perforated paper music rolls, similar to player piano rolls. These perforations were later translated into musical notation to be recreated by live organists. Herbert was best known for his operetta Babes in Toyland, premiered in 1903. The Largo played on Sunday similarly utilizes distinctive instrumental, melodic themes.  

Another melodic composer you’ll hear on Sunday during the offertory is Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847), pictured above. Fanny was the older sister of fellow composer Felix Mendelssohn. Both siblings grew up with thorough musical training, but Fanny was held back by her family and station, being an upper-class woman. She published a few of her works in the year before her death as well as some under Felix’s name, and she also organized regular Sunday musical salons in her home where she often played her own works. She is finally starting to get the recognition she deserves as a monumental composer of over 400 pieces, particularly for voice and piano, matching the genius of her more famous brother.