Amy Lauren Jones
Monday, October 23, 2017.
MS College's Provine Chapel

To hear Jones' recital, Click here

October 23, 2017, was the auspicious occasion of Amy Lauren Jones' graduate organ recital performed in the historic Provine Chapel on the Mississippi College campus. The demanding repertoire was played confidently and energetically from beginning to end and moreover with mature musical understanding.

The opening phrases of the Buxtehude Präludium in G Minor featured perfectly synchronized rapid parallel lines, followed by two principal fughetto sections which alternated to the end with more homophonic, yet virtuosic sections. Jones used tempo to unify the sectional piece.

Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 548, followed and was the crowning centerpiece of the program. The work was from his Leipzig period and one of his latest, most mature organ compositions. The Prelude is itself a monumental work of weight and uncompromising drive. The towering Fugue, nicknamed "The Wedge" because of the chromatically widening intervals of its subject, is unique in its fugal form in Bach's identical ending recapitulation of the exposition, returning it to us via a dominant pedal point. In between these bookends lies a recurring quick noted chromatic theme, brightly registered and cleanly executed, rapid rhapsodic scale passages which chase and answer each other, as well as occasional re-entries of the subject. Jones masterful execution of this great work won her sustained applause at its conclusion!

In keeping with the tradition of the Organ Historical Society, Jones included a hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," (Tune SLANE). The Chapel reverberated with rich choral sound as the audience followed her free accompaniment which was characterized by sustained appropriate but unexpected harmonies.

The "Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain" (Op. 7) by Duruflé uses two premises to pay its homage to the tragically deceased composer Jehan Alain: a theme representing the letters of his name (ADAAF) and the quotation of the chant melody upon which Alain built his best known piece, "Litanies." The ADAAF theme is derived from the repeated use of the seven music alphabet letters to also represent letters of the actual alphabet; for this theme, Duruflé usually shapes it in a rising effect and also makes much use of the D Minor triad it forms. The Prelude opens with a lively constant triple-figured theme which is in fact built on the ADAAF theme; Jones' nimble and spry fingers executed all of this very cleanly. The asymmetrical rhythms which occurred when Duruflé inserted recurring chant melody (in a similar manner to Alain's in "Litanies") were made to flow and to feel very natural to the listeners. Duruflé's subject for the Fugue is also derived from the ADAAF pattern, this time in 6/8 meter; midway, he transforms the work into a double fugue with the introduction of a derived sixteenth note version. Duruflé masterfully uses straight-forward fugal form and devices to create this satisfying work, a noble tribute. Jones brought the work to life for us with skill and understanding.

Rachel Laurin's Prelude begins darkly with extended sixteenth note melodies which Jones presented with flexibility and inflection. As the piece built into intensity and receded again into pensiveness, Jones guided our journey. The Fugue features a jaunty subject which was well and consistently articulated. We were carried through contrasting episodes, but were brought to a brilliant and exciting conclusion when the subject was "texturized" by French toccata style.

Carol S. Durham©2017
Dean, the American Guild to Organists, the Jackson MS Chapter

Amy Lauren Jones studies with Robert Knupp.