Church of the Redeemer Concert Series:
The Ancient Story of Job Presented through Spoken Text, Song, and Organ Music
A musical cycle on the Biblical Book of Job will be presented at the Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2 p.m. The music, written for the organ by the 20th century Czech composer Petr Eben, will be performed by the Redeemer staff organist Ted Gibboney. The music, composed in eight movements, is based on and recounts the story of Job from the Hebrew scriptures. The text will be recited and punctuated with insertions of Hebrew chant by Rabbi Matthew Kraus of the Jewish Studies Department of the University of Cincinnati. Redeemer Church is located at 2944 Erie Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208. Although no tickets are sold for the recital, the audience is encouraged to make a $10 donation to help defray the costs for the program.
Petr Eben (1929-2007) was raised as a Catholic, but was imprisoned during the Second World War in the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp because his father was Jewish. Trained in Prague following the war, he held important teaching positions there at Charles University and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. As a performer he was known as a brilliant improviser on both the piano and organ, often playing entire programs on literary and Biblical themes. Composing was his primary vocation, though. He composed widely in vocal, choral, symphonic, piano, and chamber genres, but was most prolific and did his most important writing for the organ.
As the story opens, Satan makes a Faustian bargain with God to test Job, who is faithful to God and prosperous in human terms, with a large family and many possessions. As Job’s earthly possessions and health are stripped away, his faith is sorely tested. The ancient story reveals the theme of innocent suffering, which questions the very meaning of life itself. A portion of the scripture text is read before each of the cycle’s eight movements. The music responds in a way that both tells the story and captures the drama of each scene. Its use of harmony is conservative compared with much 20th century music, but the organ is used in a unique, colorfully virtuosic manner. Also traditional is his use of recurrent melodies or motives associated with thematic ideas, with insertions of chant and hymn melodies from the Western Christian Church.
Dr. Ted Gibboney is Organist for the Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) in Cincinnati. A life-long church musician, he has served churches and seminaries in three states. As an organist he has and continues to study and perform throughout the U.S. and in Western Europe. As a recently certified instructor in the Alexander Technique, he teaches privately and has conducted wellness workshops to both musicians and general audiences. Rabbi Matthew Kraus is assistant professor in the Department of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Professor Kraus studies and writes extensively on the history of biblical interpretation and Judaism in the Greek and Roman world. A gifted teacher of students of all ages, he is an enthusiastic teller of Biblical stories through an engaging combination of word and song.