Dorothy Young Riess | Music of Joy

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Music of Joy

by Dorothy Young Riess

Energy and vitality describe the organ playing of octogenarian, Dr. Dorothy Young Riess. This CD is a stunning example of her capabilities featuring unedited performance tracks from two concerts and music of exceptional power and beauty.
Genre: Classical: Organ
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jean Langlais, "Fête"
6:15 $0.99
2. J.S. Bach "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" Arr. for Organ By E. Power Biggs
3:30 $0.99
3. J.S. Bach, Clavierübung III, “kyrie, Gott Heiliger Geist” BWV 671
5:58 $0.99
4. Johannes Brahms, "My Heart Abounds With Pleasure"
3:08 $0.99
5. Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Symphonic Chorale “jesu Meine Freude” Op.87 #2 I. Introduzione (Inferno)
8:08 $0.99
6. Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Symphonic Chorale “jesu Meine Freude” Op.87 #2 II. Canzone"
4:55 $0.99
7. Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Symphonic Chorale “jesu Meine Freude” Op.87 #2 III. Fuga Con Corale"
10:36 $0.99
8. Dimitri Shostakovich, "Suite for Variety Orchestra, Waltz 2" Arr. for Organ By Dorothy Riess
4:36 $0.99
9. Scott Joplin "Maple Leaf Rag" Arr. for Organ By Dorothy Riess
3:29 $0.99
10. Olivier Messiaen, L'ascension, III. “transports De Joie” Outburst of Joy
5:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Dr. Dorothy" celebrated her 80th year on the planet in 2011 by performing concerts at The University of Nevada Las Vegas and also at First Congregational Church, Berkeley CA, for the American Guild of Organists Region IX Convention. Both were recorded and she selected the best tracks for this CD. No attempt was made to edit out imperfections, and they stand as a monument to her exceptional performance abilities. Her theme, MUSIC OF JOY, expresses her delight in music as a powerful means of communication.

1. Fête (Festival) 1945, Jean Langlais (1907-1991)
Blindness from early childhood glaucoma rarely deterred Langlais from living a full life. He excelled in organ performance (over 300 concerts in North America alone) and composition. A pupil of Marchal at the Paris National Institute for the Young Blind, he also studied organ with Marcel Dupré, improvisation with Charles Tournemire and composition with Paul Dukas. He taught at the National Institute for the Young Blind and also the Paris Schola Cantorum, and followed the footsteps of Franck and Tournemire as Organist Titulaire at the Basilica of St. Clotilde, Paris.
In 1945, after the extreme deprivations of the Occupation, the Liberation of Paris was so joyful that Langlais composed “Festival” to celebrate both that event and his appointment to St Clotilde, a position he held for 42 years until age 80! As you listen, imagine the streets of Paris filled with rejoicing throngs, the rumble of military trucks, the bands playing, a rare quiet moment on a side street, and joyous dancing!

2. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, 1716, J.S. Bach (1685-1750) Arr. for organ by E. Power Biggs
Bach composed a total of 200 cantatas during his time in Weimar from 1708-1717 as part of his duties to write about 58 different cantatas each year! This famous song is the last movement, no.10, from Cantata BWV147, Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life (Herz und Mund Tat und Leben) originally scored for orchestra and chorus. “Jesus remains my joy, my heart's comfort and essence. Jesus resists all suffering, He is my life's strength, my eye's desire and sun, my soul's love and joy; so I will not leave Jesus out of my heart and mind.”

3. Kyrie, God Holy Spirit (Kyrie Gott heiliger Geist) BWV 671, c.1739, J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
By the time Bach was 54 in 1739 he had already outlived the average life expectancy of 47, sired 20 children, written hundreds of compositions, and published Books I and II of Clavierubung or “keyboard practice”. To celebrate the bicentennial of Martin Luther's sermon at Leipzig , he published Book III, a collection of chorale preludes on the five articles of Luther’s catechism prefaced by the Kyrie and Gloria. The big “Kyrie ..." presents the song in the pedal against a four-part motet “on full organ” per Bach's written instructions. “Kyrie, God Holy Ghost, keep us firm of faith and true to Thee, and when at last we die, let us joyously depart from sorrow. Have Mercy.”

4. My Heart Abounds with Pleasure (Herzlich thut mich efreuen), 1896, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
In the last summer of his life, at age 74, Brahms composed eleven chorale preludes, settings of Lutheran chorale tunes, in memory of his dearest friend, Clara Schumann. These works are expertly crafted, and sublimely beautiful. “My heart abounds with pleasure, in this fair summertime, when God, with fullest measure, renews the world benign.”

5, 6, 7 Jesus My Joy (Jesu Meine Freude) Op. 87 #2, 1913, Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933)
The German composer, Karg-Elert, wrote Three Symphonic Chorales Op. 87 with a sure technique and serenity placing them at the summit of his compositions. The date, 1913, is significant as the year before the First World War, after which his mental restlessness increased and permeated much of his later work.
He described the work to an English friend: “Jesu meine Freude”: 1st movement, "Inferno-Vision", anguish and torment, remorse and repentance; 2nd movement, Canzona, "My delight is in Thee", in the ornamented baroque style ... to express the glory of Jesus by means of the most delicate arabesques and decorative work; 3rd movement, Fugue, penetrating through the night of existence to the light of the only true knowledge. At the end, the Choral, when all unrest, haste and petty things are stripped away and “Jesu My Joy” stands before us - plain and simple and yet monumental." The emotions of this work extend from despair and anguish to supreme spiritual joy as the music shifts from c minor to C Major for the ending phrase played with double pedal “Jesus, My Joy!”

8. Waltz 2, 1956, Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), arr. for organ by D.Y. Riess
Shostakovich came of age in post-revolutionary Russia and government politics influenced his creative development. A child prodigy, piano studies began with his mother at age 8 followed by Petrograd Conservatory from age 13 to 19. His First Symphony brought international recognition, but his second opera, resulted in government denunciation as “coarse, primitive and vulgar” in 1936, the beginning of the Great Terror. He curtailed his originality for a more acceptable Fifth Symphony, but was condemned again in 1948 for “formalism”. He then divided his compositions into three sets: 1) film music to pay the rent; 2) official works to secure government rehabilitation; 3) and serious works for the desk drawer.
Waltz 2 was adapted from the seventh movement of“Suite for Variety Orchestra”. The haunting melody is famous as soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's last film, “Eyes Wide Shut”.

9. Maple Leaf Rag, 1897, Scott Joplin ( 1867-1917) arr. for organ by D.Y. Riess
The first instrumental piece ever to sell one million copies of sheet music, Joplin remarked, “Maple Leaf will make me King of ragtime.” In 1916 Joplin recorded it on a piano roll with many additional flourishes. It's a lively ragtime march with “athletic bass” and upbeat rhythm.

10. Transports of Joy (Transports de Joie), 1934, Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Messiaen entered the Paris Conservatory at age 11 and studied with Dukas, Widor and Dupré. At 23 he was appointed organist at Église de la Sainte-Trinité where he played until his death at 84. His interest in complex rhythms from ancient Greek and Hindu sources, limited transposition techniques, bird songs, and deep religious faith combined to make him one of the major composers of the 20th century.
He composed the “Ascension Suite - 4 Meditations” originally for Orchestra in 1932-33.The following year he arranged the orchestral version for organ, and replaced the third movement with an entirely new one, "Transports of Joy". The uninhibited exuberance of this music is like laughter, and a black-note-only run at the end culminates in a loud five-chord exclamation of Music of Joy!

"Dr. Dorothy" grew up in a musical family, starting piano with her mother at age four, and dynamics and interpretation with her father, a concert violinist. Changing to the organ at 16, she became a protégé of Mildred Andrews at The University of Oklahoma whose teaching skills resulted in several competition wins including the National American Guild of Organists in 1952. She received a scholarship to study with Marcel Dupré in France who recommended her as " excellent and perfect musician with a brilliant technique."
She was guest organist at the American Cathedral in Paris, and later served two years as organist-choir master of the American Church in Rome, Italy, followed by graduate work in organ at Yale University. A series of life-changing events led her into medicine and she graduated from The University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1969 at age 38.
After 9 years of training and 30 years of Internal Medicine practice in Pasadena CA, she retired and relocated to Las Vegas returning to the organ to perform on "Pipe Dreams Live from Las Vegas" in 2006 in connection with the AGO Mid-Winter Conclave. She celebrated her 75th birthday with a concert at UNLV, and her 77th with a Memorial Concert for her father on the 50th anniversary of his death at First Christian Church, Las Vegas, featuring the world premiere of his symphonic composition, Canzona, which she transcribed for organ.
Dr. Riess is noted for her technique, musicality and interpretation, gifts from her talented parents.



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