Jared Jacobsen is hitting the road on a musical journey.
“I decided that I’m going to pretend I’m a Baptist and that I’m going to travel the world,” said Jacobsen, Chautauqua’s organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music. “I’ll play pieces from different cultures, cultures that I may not have necessarily visited. I tried to pick six pieces that are representatives of very different musical traditions.”
At 12:15 p.m. Monday, August 5 in the Hall of Christ, Jacobsen will present his Tallman Tracker Organ concert, “A Baptist Hits the Road.”
This Tallman concert will take place today because of Tuesday’s Old First Night activities.
The title for this concert comes from the Tallman Tracker Organ having originally come from a Baptist church.
First up on this auditory excursion is Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” a tribute to Nordic countries, especially Sweden.
“We sing it as a hymn sometimes,” Jacobsen said. “He was interesting because he was the summing up of an entire country’s traditions and music. Edvard Grieg did the same thing right next door, in Norway.”
Jacobsen said Grieg, a Norwegian composer and pianist, wrote a lot of music based on the folk traditions of his country.
“One of those pieces that I like a lot is ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King,’ because it sounds kind of scary, like there’s a monster in the cavern up ahead,” he said. “It feels very polar and very dark, and very much part of the Nordic part of the world.”
Next, Jacobsen said he’s dipping into Spain for a “heart-on-your-sleeve” song by the Cuban composer, Ernesto Lecuona.
“ ‘Malagueña’ is one of those tunes that you’ve heard if you’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant,” he said, “often played badly by a trio of trumpets.”
After Spain, Jacobsen will travel to Egypt.
“This is an interesting little piece by René Becker,” he said. “Nobody has ever heard of René Becker, who’s French. But he wrote this piece called ‘Sur Le Nil: Sérénade orientale.’ It has kind of our Hollywood idea of what Egypt sounds like, which is not really the way it sounds in Egypt. By playing pentatonic scales and playing things on nasally oboes, you can give people the impression that they’ve gone to Egypt without having bought a ticket for it.”
The next song on the program will be concert organist Joyce Jones’ “Improvisation on ‘Aka Tombo,’ ” Jacobsen said.
“She was asked to do a concert tour in Japan, which was very unusual,” he said. “For a long time, nobody was interested in organ music in Japan, because it’s not in their tradition. But as Japan got to be more and more Westernized, they figured that pipe organs are part of the deal.”
Jacobsen said Jones’ playing and her compositions were both “the real deal,” and the perfect encapsulation of what he’d like today’s concert to represent.