Organ recital includes works by von Paradis

Published: Friday, January 3, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 3, 2003 at 1:25 a.m.
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On Jan. 12, Joan Lippincott, the former principal organist at Princeton University, replaces Marilyn Keiser for the scheduled performance in the First Presbyterian concert series.

Special to the Sun
An organ recital will pipe in the new year of concerts on Sunday, followed next week by another organ recital.
Leon W. Couch returns to Gainesville to perform, as he has on several occasions since his departure from UF with undergraduate degrees in music, math and physics. At present, he is a faculty member in the music program at Texas A&M University, as well as organist at a College Station church.
At 4 p.m. Sunday, Couch will perform on the 1941 Moller organ in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church, 419 NE 1st St.
His program will include works by Buxtehude, Mendelssohn, Charles Ives and Maria Theresia von Paradis. We don't hear much about the organ music of Ives, outside of his variations on "America," and that's what we presume is involved here.
But what about this von Paradis person? Well, she was rather special in Europe at the end of the 18th century and into the 19th. The daughter of an imperial court secretary in Vienna, she became blind in childhood. Nonetheless, she became adept as a composer, pianist, organist and singer. Von Paradis hobnobbed with the likes of Salieri, Kozeluch and Mozart (who apparently wrote his "Piano Concerto K. 456" for her). She performed extensively in Vienna's concert halls and privately among the city's aristocracy and middle class.
In the 1780s, she made impressive tours to Paris, London, Berlin and Prague. Her compositions included singspiels, cantatas, songs, concertos and sonatas, but, unfortunately, most of her work has been lost.
Crossing her path in 1777 was the magnetic personage of Anton Mesmer, who reputedly improved her visual condition somewhat for a year or so.
It's a treat to report on a concert event, perhaps for the first time, that takes place in the church I last visited when I got married nearly 40 years ago. It seems the Methodists don't usually get directly involved with classical music presentations.
n n n For the organ recital in the First Presbyterian concert series, there's been a change. Scheduled for Jan. 12, the concert now features Joan Lippincott, the former principal organist at Princeton University. She replaces Marilyn Keiser, who had to pull out of the engagement due to required shoulder surgery.
A graduate of the Curtis Institute and Westminster Choir College, Lippincott also has engaged in summer teaching activities at the New England Conservatory, the Montreat Conference Center and several other music sites. She left her post at Princeton, which she held from 1993 to 2000, to pursue more intensively her numerous performing and recording activities.
Lippincott's program on Jan. 12, it should be noted, starts at the customary 4 p.m., not the earlier time that had been arranged for Keiser. In her recital, Lippincott will perform works by Louis Marchand, J.S. Bach, Aaron Copland and Jehan Alain.
Dave Grundy can be reached at

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