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Met Museum Marks 30th Anniversary of Historic Organ With Free Concert

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On Wednesday, May 2 at 3:30pm, Robert Sirota's holy ghosts will have its world premiere, performed by Victoria Sirota on the Appleton pipe organ in The André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments, North Balcony at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, NYC). Sirota's new piece is commissioned by the department of Musical Instruments at The Metropolitan Museum, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the installation of the historic Appleton pipe organ at the Museum.

Sirota's holy ghosts is a three-movement piece based on three hymn tunes – "Semley," "Helmsley," and "From Greenland's Icy Mountains." All of these are taken from an 1832 edition of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music, edited by Lowell Mason, which the composer and his wife bought at a used bookstore years ago.

J. Kenneth Moore, Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge of musical instruments stated: "We are so pleased that Robert Sirota accepted our commission on this auspicious occasion. The hymn tones are so appropriate for the instrument, garbing the traditional in the cloak of the new."

Sirota said: "This organ is a beautiful example of early 19th century American organ building. It reminds me of a number of historic instruments that my wife Vicki has performed on in New England. The title holy ghosts comes from my sense that this instrument retains the spirits of the many Protestant hymns played on it over its life span. It is my fantasy that the organ plays them itself, as if by heart, and the twenty-first century organist comments on and embellishes the organ's performance."

In addition to holy ghosts, Victoria Sirota's concert program will also include John Stanley's Voluntary VIII in D minor, Op. 5; William Selby's A Fuge or Voluntary in D major; Francis Linley's Trumpet Voluntary in A major; Voluntary in D major from Mason and Webb's Musical Library, Benjamin Carr's Variations to the Sicilian Hymn, Charles Zeuner's Voluntary "Before Service" in G major; Raynor Taylor's Variations on Adeste Fideles, and Robert Sirota's Festival Prelude on Now Thank We All Our God which was commissioned in 1985 by The First Parish Church of Brunswick, Maine for the rededication of its restored historic 19th century tracker organ.

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