Yesterday afternoon the Theater Chamber Players moved from their accustomed surroundings in Baird Auditorium out to Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church to offer an afternoon of unusual rewards.
Thanks to the excellent organ and organist Donald Sutherland, the afternoon opened with a Fugue, Canzona, and Epilogue by Sigfrid Karg-Elert. Scored for organ, violin, and women's voices, the piece is based on the opening phrase of the Gregorian "Credo." In Karg-Elert's familiar - to organists, that is - harmonic manner, this ancient phrase emerged in some amazing mutations. If the final section with the women is undeniably syrupy, it is, nevertheless, lovely syrup. It is preceded by pages whose beauty has strength and conviction, with the violin casting a certain radiance over the organ tone.
"Two Makes Three" for organ and two percussions, players is music by Stuart Smith that makes little point in any decision.
There was a special pleasure in hearing Phyllis Bryn-Julson singing, with astounding expertise, three solo vocalises by Charles Boone, shortly after hearing the superb soprano over the radio with the Boston Symphony in songs by Charles Griffes. The vocalises are skillfully written to give the voices more than a few phenomenal gymnastics.
Sutherland added a towering reading of Schoenberg's 'variations on a Recitative, always a thorny matter.
Meanwhile at Washington Cathedral, Raymond Chenault was playing a recital of the French organ music that, being written for such Gothic buildings and such an instrument, sounds better there than almost any other repertoire. He is a superb musician whose Dupre, Messiaen, Jongen, Frank, Langlais and the rest sounded brilliant in every way.