'A romantic at heart,' Damin Spritzer in recital
The pipe organ, so monstrous in size it’s been called the “king of instruments,” is capable of a wide range of sounds, dynamics, and textures, almost an orchestra in itself. It can go from a whisper to a roar within seconds. And when it comes to the style of the music she prefers to coax from the organ, Damin Spritzer says, “I prefer beauty.”
“There a lot of things I will listen to,” she said recently, following a recital in San Antonio, “but when I am given the opportunity to choose what I want to play, I am just a romantic and neoromantic at heart, through and through.”
Spritzer’s recital included a beautiful “Elegy” by Mary Howe, and a rousing march by René Louis Becker, a composer Spritzer helped rescue from semi-obscurity through her doctoral research and subsequent recordings.
“Without fail, when I bring some of his music to a concert, even if it's a place where people don't really know me in particular or that that's my research… people often say, ‘I loved that piece, that Becker was so beautiful,’ and so I feel like the music communicates and really reaches a wide variety of people, and I think that's very special quality.”
Damin Spritzer’s recital was part of the Tuesday Musical Club’s Artist Series, and took place not at the TMC’s normal venue, Laurel Heights United Methodist Church, but at the Margarite B. Parker Chapel on the campus of Trinity University. The chapel, designed by O’Neil Ford, houses the largest pipe organ built by Otto Hoffmann.
Noting her surroundings, Spritzer said of the space and its instrument, “I think the feast that you get sonically from the organ is matched and enhanced by the incredible beauty of this hall, and it's very unique. The space really lets the organ speak, and it lets the organ resonate and you've got the trumpet in the back that gives you a little bit of fire from the balcony when you need, but it's this massive sound that I think is very much matched by the depth of the space visually as well as acoustically. There's a lot of room for the sound, and I think it must feel powerful from out in the pews, just as it does when you're up close to the pipes at the console.”
We certainly felt the power of the performance, and think you will, too! Enjoy these selections in the audio link at the top of this page.
- Psalm Preludes, Set II, No. III – Herbert Howells
- Elegy – Mary Howe
- Marche Triomphale: Ite missa est – René Louis Becker
- Bach’s Mememto: II. Miserere mei Domine – Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. by Charles-Marie Widor