Nathan J. Laube Portrait

2010 National Convention Report

The American Organist

By Dennis Ellwell

10/01/10


Although not officially given the title Rising Star via the AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists, Nathan Laube’s recital at National Presbyterian Church nevertheless provided undeniable evidence that he is clearly a “rising star” in our professional world. One of the newest additions to Karen McFarlane Artists, Laube displayed impeccable technique, exceptional registration creativity, and artistic skill beyond his years in a program that began with his own transcription of Johann Strauss II’s Overture to Die Fledermaus, and culminated with Maurice Duruflé’s Suite, Op. 5. In between were performances of Joseph Jongen’s Sonata Eroica, Op. 94, and Charles Tournemire’s L’Orgue mystique, Cycle de Noël, Suite No. 7, Op. 55. Playing from memory on his 22nd birthday, Laube was almost a magician in the Strauss transcription, using the multitude of colors and registrational mechanicals afforded by the large IV/115-rank instrument built by the Aeolian-Skinner Company in 1969, and implemented with its new Di Gennaro-Hart Solo Division, heard for the first time in this recital. Before the Jongen, Laube noted that he had first played the work at the Philadelphia POE in 2006 on the John Wanamaker Grand Court Organ (a recital attended by this reporter) and had based this performance on his concept of playing the work on that instrument. It worked! The Tournemire suite was a perfect contrast to the previous large works with its often sweet, gentle, delightful early chant modes. Likely many in the audience have experienced or performed Duruflé’s Suite many times in their lives, so expectations may have been common for all. Nathan Laube well fulfilled them, along with the desires of the composer, in a solid performance that brought both a standing ovation and the singing of “Happy Birthday, dear Nathan,” by the enthusiastic audience.

 

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