Musical Meditation: ”Symphonia Elegiaca” by Camil van Hulse

Monday, March 30, 2015
Monday In Holy Week
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


(No Tickets or Reservations Required – Donation Requested)

SYMPHONIA ELEGIACA, Op. 83 – Camil van Hulse
Stephen Buzard organ

As we mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Stephen Buzard will play the rarely heard Symphonia Elegiaca by the Belgian-American organist and composer, Camil van Hulse (1897-1988). Born in Belgium, van Hulse served in the war, suffering severe lung damage from exposure to poison gas and tuberculosis. Seeking the therapeutic desert air, Van Hulse moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1923 where he built his career as an organist, composer, church musician, and founding conductor of the Tucson Symphony.

Constructing the work on material borrowed from the Requiem mass, van Hulse dedicated the symphony to the American impresario, Bernard R. La Berge, who died on December 28, 1951, after devoting his life to the advancement of organ music. The work is at once virtuosic and contemplative, exciting and meditative. In style, it is stark and modernist like Stravinsky, yet with the liturgical sensibility of Duruflé – a unique, yet neglected voice of the organ repertoire. American organist Claire Coci premiered the work on April 12, 1954 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York.

Stephen Buzard, Assistant Organist at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, holds degrees from Yale University and Westminster Choir College where he studied organ with Thomas Murray and Ken Cowan and improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart and Bruce Neswick. He has a solo recording available on the Delos label, featuring works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Paulus, Vierne, Howells, and Reubke.