By Edward Kliszus

This was a celebration and reminder of Kent Tritle, a gifted musical artist of epic importance to the world of performing arts in New York and beyond. Tritle’s ubiquitous, multi-dimensional contributions emanate from his work as a virtuoso solo organist, organist of the New York Philharmonic, choral conductor, and director of both Musica Sacra and the Oratorio Society of New York. He is also an organist and Director of Music for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

Tonight Kent Tritle performed on the organ at the magnificent Cathedral of St. John the Divine, treating a large audience to three of the finest works of the organ canon. Tritle masterfully commanded the Cathedral’s organ producing sounds felt as often as heard. We absorbed opulent, heavenly sound reverberations of grandeur and timelessness in this magnificent space.

The recital began with J.S. Bach’s Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542. The challenges of this piece exemplified Tritle’s virtuosic technique, dexterity, control, independence of hands and feet, and the means to navigate complex counterpoint and polyphony. Tritle’s masterful performance displayed these elements and more, expressing the work’s beauty and drama through his virtuosic, informed choices of stops.

Tritle next performed David Hurd’s Partita on Detroit (1992), a five-movement work crafted as a tribute to Detroit, Michigan’s musical heritage, including jazz and blues idioms. The piece explored aspects of the hymn tune Come, Labor On, providing means for Tritle to display his mastery of jaunty, syncopated dance rhythms leading to a majestic, triumphant fanfare and denouement.

César Franck’s  Chorale No. 3 in A Minor completed Tritle’s program with its rich harmonies and expressions of exultant, devotional, and seemingly inscrutable spiritual yearnings. We experienced intricate counterpoint, florid figurations in the manuals, and profound means to display the full power of the organ, Franck’s intellect, and the blinding musical radiance of the nonpareil Tritle.

Bravo, Maestro Tritle!

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street)
New York, NY 10025
(212) 316-7540

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Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Light of Paradise with Kent Tritle, the American Classical Orchestra presents Healing Bach, MasterVoices performs at Central Synagogue, and Drinking in America.;