Organ Recital

On May 17, 2010 Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary hosted an organ recital by Philip Moldenhauer and Jacob Behnken. The recital was played on the chapel organ, Martin Ott Opus 54. Sensing the opportunity to get another good recording to demonstrate the sound and capability of the organ, we made sure to record the recital. We are happy to present the audio of the recital here for your enjoyment. We’ve provided biographies of the organists, notes on the pieces, and audio download links. Enjoy.

From All That Dwell Below The Skies

Cologne, 1623
Setting by Jeffrey Blersch

From all that dwell below the skies
Let the Creator’s praise arise.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Let the Redeemer’s name be sung
Through every land by every tongue.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Eternal are your mercies, Lord;
Eternal is your glorious Word.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Your praise shall sound from shore to shore
Till suns shall rise and set no more.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Organist: Philip Moldenhauer

Toccata in D Minor

Dietrich Buxtehude, 1637-1707
BuxWV 155

Buxtehude, organist at the Marienkirche in Lübeck, Germany, is the earliest composer whose works for organ form part of the standard repertoire of organ music. His Toccata in D minor, like his free preludes, is a multi-sectional work that alternates between free, improvisatory sections and strict counterpoint. The similarity in the opening phrases to Bach’s much more famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor may be more than coincidental: it is believed that Bach wrote his Toccata shortly after he returned from his famous visit to Lübeck in 1705.

Organist: Philip Moldenhauer

Prelude and Fugue in C Major

Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750
BWV 547

This piece is often referred to as “9/8” because of the unusual time signature employed in the prelude. The fugue is a masterful study of technique, as the theme is introduced on the manuals, inverted, and thoroughly explored before the pedal finally enters with the theme. The large chords that occur near the end of both the prelude and the fugue indicate that the two were written as a pair.

Organist: Philip Moldenhauer

Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor

Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750
BWV 582

Bach wrote only one of his organ works in this musical form, and for centuries the Passacaglia in C has left listeners wondering why he did not write more. Bach states the theme (from a suite by Raison) in the pedal at the beginning of the piece and then provides twenty variations that gradually build in intensity. While the theme moves from the pedal to different voice parts and even appears in more than one voice at certain points, it remains always present. After the piece’s climactic end, Bach marvels us one more time, using the theme in a fugal section with two countersubjects.

Organist: Jacob Behnken

Sonata III

Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847
Op. 37

When the English publishers Coventry an Hollier commissioned Mendelssohn to write a group of voluntaries for organ, Mendelssohn chose instead to call his pieces “sonatas” not in the sense that they followed the classic sonata form but in the way Bach used the term, as a suite of various pieces. In fact, none of the movements in his six sonatas follow the traditional sonata-allegro form either! In the third sonata, the majestic chords of the first movement gradually give way to a fugal section in which Mendelssohn employs the hymn tune AUS TIEFER NOTE (From Depths of Woe, CW 305) in the pedal. The sonata closes with a quiet, meditative second movement that shows the beauty of Mendelssohn’s musical expression at its best.

Organist: Jacob Behnken

Now Thank We All Our God

Johann Crüger, 1598-1661
Setting by Jeffrey Blersch

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom this world rejoices,
Who from our mothers’ arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us
And keep us in his grace
And guide us when perplexed
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son and him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore!
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Organist: Jacob Behnken

Recital Album Art

The Organists

Philip Modlenhauer

Philip Moldenhauer, born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, is a second-year student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. During grade school and high school in New Ulm, Minnesota, he studied piano under Joanne Olsen. At Martin Luther College he studies organ with Dr. Wayne Wagner. He served regularly as an organist at several churches in southern Minnesota. While attending the seminary, he plays for services at St. Peter Lutheran Church and Christ Lutheran Church on the south side of Milwaukee.

Jacob Behnken

Jacob Behnken, born and raised in South Dakota, is a second-year student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Recognizing Jacob’s interest and gifts already at age 12, his father, a pilot, began to fly him to New Ulm, MN, for lessons with Dr. Edward Meyer of Martin Luther College. Jacob soon became a regular organist at his home congregation, St. Martin Lutheran Church in Watertown. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled at Martin Luther College where he continued his organ studies under Dr. Wayne Wagner and served as an adjunct organ instructor during his senior year. Jacob competed at two Young Artists’ Competitions hosted by the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). One of the highlights of his senior year was to participate in a master’s class led by organist Paul Jacobs of the Juilliard School. In the summer following his graduation, Jacob performed in the AGO’s Sioux Trails Chapter summer recital series and at the WELS National Worship Conference. While at the Seminary, Jacob serves as a regular organist at Grace Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, and at Good Shepherd’s Lutheran Church in West Allis.