Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 28
The Lompoc Concert Association welcomes organist Angela Kraft Cross
By JOE PAYNE
The organ has been called the “King of Instruments” because it gives the musician access to more sounds, range, and power than all other instruments. One must also remember that, before the age of electronics and synthesizers, the organ was the only instrument that could emulate scores of instruments, just with the flick of a button.
The Lompoc Concert Association stages concerts at the First United Methodist Church, which is equipped with a wonderful organ. Fittingly, the last performance of the association’s season will feature a Bay Area organ virtuoso, Angela Kraft Cross, with a repertoire of organ masterworks.
“The program I am going to be playing is going to have a section that is Germanic and a section that is French,” Cross said, “and then pieces that I have written.”
The Germanic tradition of the organ began before the time of Johann Sebastian Bach, though he came to exemplify it. Called “The Father of Music” by Beethoven, Bach spent his entire career at the organ, composing pieces that have become synonymous with the instrument.
“Johann Sebastian Bach, he is probably the greatest organ composer that ever lived, and I don’t think any of the composers that followed would take any issue with that,” Cross said. “
She said the sense of harmony in the piece she will be playing, Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, “is so bold and daring, nobody in his time wrote with such beautiful harmony, and it took nearly 100 years for anybody else to do anything like it.”
Fast-forward those 100 years and you get composers like Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt, who continued the organ tradition that Bach exemplified. Cross will perform a few canons by Schumann and a prelude by Liszt. She said the prelude by Liszt is a tribute to Bach, because it uses the notes B, A, C, and B flat—known as H in Germany—to melodically spell the great composer’s name.
“There is a whole group of composers in the Germanic tradition that have honored Bach in that way,” she said. “And, as much as we think of Liszt as being a Hungarian composer, his organ work was done in Germany.”
In addition to the German masters, Cross will also play some French selections. The French enjoyed an organ renaissance during the Romantic period (mid- to late-19th century), which required newer and better organs.
“It’s known as the French symphonic organ movement and it was centered around an organ builder who refilled the empty organ lofts that were destroyed during the French Revolution,” Cross said. “His name was Aristide Cavaillé-Coll and he put organs in there that were meant to emulate the sound of an orchestra.”
The movement led many French organ composers to write symphonies, not for an orchestra, but for the organ. Cross had the opportunity to play many of these works in the various cathedrals and at the organs for which they were written.
“I have actually played organ concerts at Notre Dame, St. Sulpice, and the Madeleine,” she said. “It’s a spiritual experience. Part of it is that the organ is magnificent. … We are talking about these tall, stony cathedrals, and the sound is phenomenal and the music just comes alive in those settings.”
Interpreting works of genius takes genius, as does the art of composing. Cross will be sharing her own music at the concert as well.
“My works sound a little bit more contemporary than the ones that are written in the French and Germanic style because I live in this century and not in the previous one,” she said. “That being said, you could say there are some Bach and French influences in my music.”
Like Bach, Cross serves in an organist position at her church, where she is artist in residence. She runs an organ camp for young musicians and firmly believes in passing down the organ tradition. She has several albums for sale on her website, angelakraftcross.com, and is currently working on an album of her original works.
“When you are a composer, you work in the present, but you pull from a lot of the construction methods and ideas that come from the past,” she said. “So you are inspired and influenced by the past, but you live in the present.”
Viva el Arte de Santa Barbara presents a family concert by Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán on Sept. 21 at 4 and 7:30 p.m. at the Guadalupe City Hall Auditorium, 918 Obispo St., Guadalupe. More info: 343-2939.
Get the juices flowing
Drive over to Creative Juices Lounge in Guadalupe to see Jody Mulgrew and his band on Sept. 20 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The lounge is located at 874 Guadalupe St. in Guadalupe. More info: 219-0518 or creativejuiceslounge.com.
Concerts in the Park is a free concert series presented by the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, PLAY Inc., and Santa Maria Rotary clubs and features Motel Drive performing on Sept. 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Rotary Centennial Park, College Drive, Santa Maria. More info: 925-0951, Ext. 260.
The Radisson Hotel presents live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. including Calo performing on Sept. 20 and 21 at 3455 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria. More info: 928-8000.
Live at the Chumash
The Chumash Casino and Resort presents blues guitarist Robert Cray performing Sept. 19. Latin star Larry Hernandez performs Sept. 26. Both shows are at 8 p.m. at the Chumash Casino Resort, 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. Cost is $45, $55, $65, $75, and $85. More info: 585-3737 or chumashcasino.com.
Open mic night
Lucia’s Wine Co. offers an open mic night featuring wine, poetry, and live music on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the tasting room, 126 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt. More info: 332-3080.
‘Wine down Wednesday’
The Addamo Tasting Room and Bistro presents “Wine Down Wednesdays” featuring live music on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Addamo Tasting Room and Bistro, located at 400 E. Clark Ave., Old Orcutt. Free. More info: 937-6400 or Bethany@addamovineyards.com.
Party at the Maverick
The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including a “GLO Party” featuring DJ Sol, DJ Butters, and DJ Hurricane on Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring Owen Johnston is Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. The Fourcasters perform on Sept. 21 at 7:45 p.m. followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Tales from the Tavern” presents Dave Alvin in concert on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Arts Editor Joe Payne at email@example.com.