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Et ecce terrae motus factus est

If you have the time this evening and want to hear what is sure to be a spectacular organ recital, it is time again for the annual free recital on the Octave Day of Easter at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, at the corner of 4th Street and Michigan Avenue NE. This evening (April 15, 7 pm), the guest organist is Thierry Escaich, from the church of St. Etienne-du-Mont in Paris, where Maurice Duruflé also played. This concert is free and open to the public. Thierry Escaich will play a combination of compositions, by himself and others, as well as several improvisations on selected melodies.

He also played earlier today during the Noon Mass, where from the chancel as a member of the choir I heard him improvise. His sortie improvisée -- a postlude on today's recessional hymn, the Ode to Joy -- shook dust loose from the vault. (As noted in my Latin title, the resurrection of Jesus was manifested with an earthquake, after all.) That famous melody was pulled and twisted in astounding ways, at one point appearing as a berserk gigue. This is playing not to be missed.

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