Lighting up the Loft

When most people think of organ music, the words dull, dark, and old spring to mind. On last Friday evening, as Mr. John Skelton took to the loft, this preconceived notion was proven to be far from true. The warm room was sprinkled with forty apt listeners, including several P.A. students. The most astonishing thing, however, was not the number of people in the room;; it was the music. Matthias Weckman’s Preambulum primi toni a 5 in D minor was first on the list. Its dreary depth pulsated through the Chapel, and the cozy room suddenly seemed cavernous and dark. The low, pounding music vibrated through one’s chest in a chilling fashion. Next, the Secondo Libro di Toccate of Toccata Nona by Girolami Frescobaldi provided a substantially lighter atmosphere. The crowd reveled in the warmer tones of this piece, basking in notes like sunshine. Skelton took a modest bow and followed up with equally intriguing renditions of Bach’s monumental Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 539 and his Chorale Prelude, Leibster Jesu, wir sind heir, BWV 731. The prelude and fugue were light and airy; the notes seemed to bounce around the room whimsically. The gathering was especially receptive to this piece because of its popularity in the music world. The Chorale Prelude brought the crowd back to its former state with a more sober, intense tone. The audience was next captivated by Skelton’s longest piece, Fantasia in G Major, also by Johann Sebastian Bach. Played in three movements, it was anything but boring. The first movement, Tres vitement, was, according to fellow concert-goer Neville Williams ’05,