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1pm Tuesday 10 February 2004 in the Quadrangle


Berea College, Kentuky, USA


1. Music in Baroque Style
Rondeau from Abdelazer . . . . . Henry Purcell
Bist du bei mir (If Thou Are Near) . . . . . J S Bach, arr. Ronald Barnes
Prelude and Fugue for Grand Carillon (2003) . . . . . John Courter

2. Spiritual Songs
Poor Wayfaring Stranger . . . . . Appalachian Hymn, arr. Milford Myhre
Amazing Grace . . . . . Traditional American Hymn, arr. J Courter
Precious Lord, Take My Hand . . . . . Thomas A Dorsey, arr. J Courter

3. From the Romantic Era
Slavonic Dance, Op. 72, No. 2 . . . . . Antonin Dvořák, arr. J Courter
Selections from Lyric Pieces for Piano . . . . . Edvard Grieg, arr. J Courter
    Folksong, Op. 38, No. 2
    Waltz, Op. 38, No. 7
    Solitary Traveller, Op. 43, No. 2
    Grandmother’s Minuet, Op. 68, No. 2

4. International Folksongs:
Bonny Eloise . . . . . American (Mohawk Valley), arr. M Myhre
Auprèz de ma blonde . . . . . French, arr. M Myhre
Waltzing Matilda . . . . . Australian, arr. J Courter

5. Suite in Popular Style for Carillon (2003) . . . . . John Courter
Ragtime Bells
Blues for Bells
The Winners (March for Carillon)

Program Notes

  1. Purcell’s Rondeau is perhaps most familiar to modern audiences as the theme used by Benjamin Britten in his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. It was written as Incidental music for the play Abdelazer, or The Moor’s Revenge. Despite his position as Organist of the Chapel Royal, Purcell had much experience in writing music for the stage. Bach’s Bist du bei mir is found in the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook. Courter’s Prelude and Fugue uses a traditional harmonic language, but features the extended low range bells of the Grand Carillon. It was written for the 2003 International Carillon Festival at Springfield, Illinois, and is dedicated to its resident carillonneur, Karel Keldermans.

  2. The Appalachian hymn Poor Wayfaring Stranger was arranged by Milford Myhre, longtime carillonneur of Bok Tower in Florida, and former President of the World Carillon Federation. Amazing Grace is one of America’s best known and loved folk hymns. Thomas . Dorsey, known as “the Father of Black Gospel Music,” wrote Precious Lord as a response to the grief he felt upon the death of his young wife and newborn child.

  3. The two sets of Slavonic Dances by Czech composer Antonin Dvořák have been popular since their first publication for piano duet. When orchestrated by the composer, they met with great success. The dance heard today is a ‘dumka,’ a stately dignified dance. The theme is melancholy; soon a more cheerful tune in a major key attempts a lighter mood, but without success. The nostalgic quality returns. Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) composed 66 Lyric Pieces for piano during his lifetime, spanning Op. 12 to Op. 71.

  4. The carillon has long had a tradition of featuring familiar folksongs, first in improvised settings and later in written arrangements. There is a wealth of folksong literature from all countries.

  5. The Suite in Popular Style was commissioned by the University of Michigan to honor the Irwin family, longtime sponsors of the University of Michigan Summer Carillon Concert Series “Mondays at Seven.” Each movement is dedicated to one of the members of the family.

JOHN COURTER has been a Professor of Music and College Organist at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky since 1971. He is also the College Carillonist, since the college installed a 56-bell carillon in 2000. He teaches organ, piano, carillon, music theory and composition, and two Arts courses in the General Studies program. In 1995 he was awarded the college’s Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching. A native of Lansing, Michigan, he earned degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. His carillon studies were with Wendell Westcott at Michigan State University and Todd Fair at the Netherlands Carillon School, where he earned both the Practical Diploma (1988) and the Performing Artist’s Diploma (1996). John also studied composition in the Netherlands with Jaap Zwart, Jr. His compositions have been published in the USA by American Carillon Music Editions (ACME) and the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), as well as in Germany and the Netherlands.

John Courter is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and serves on the Board of Directors of the GCNA and the World Carillon Federation. He has performed at the Bok Tower Gardens (Florida) Carillon Festival in 1996 and 2001, the Springfield Carillon Festival in 2003, the World Carillon Federation Congress in Chambéry, France and at the Berkeley (California) Festival. In 1993 he was awarded the Berkeley Medal in recognition of his contributions to the carillon art. He hosted the 61st Congress of the GCNA from June 17–20, 2003 at Berea College.

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Last updated 1 November 2005.
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