When Thomas Stacy was a boy, his family came west on a trip that, among other stops, brought them to Temple Square and the Salt Lake Tabernacle. "They dropped the pin and everything," he says of the traditional demonstration of that building's fabled acoustics, "and I resolved that, if I ever had a chance to play there, I would."
Monday he got that chance, as another phalanx of visitors filed into the Tabernacle to hear the second of that day's afternoon organ recitals. Nothing new there, only Monday, in addition to Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott, Stacy, now English horn of the New York Philharmonic, was the soloist.Thus, between the Handel and "Come, Come, Ye Saints," listeners heard the two of them in American organist Calvin Hampton's Variations on "Amazing Grace," written for Stacy more than a decade ago.
To my ears his sound filled the building admirably, from the smoothly articulated solo statement of the old Scottish tune through the various melodic and harmonic turns in which the organ plays a part. Embroidery was delicate, the impressionistic final variation especially moving and, when they were finished - well, you could have heard a pin drop.
- YOU COULD ALSO have heard one drop Saturday at the Park City Education Center when Stacy, this time on oboe d'amore, soloed with the Park City International Music Festival Orchestra in Telemann's Concerto in A major for that instrument.
"D'amore da merrier," Stacy quoted from a T-shirt he owns. But in fact there weren't so many there to savor his virtuosity, and that despite an imaginatively ornamented performance that made this concerto more interesting than it sometimes seems.
Warm, precise, plaintively atmospheric - these all described his playing, from the gently leaned-into Siciliana to the uninsistently spectacular concluding Vivace, with its just-right underlining of individual phrases.
Nor did the mostly student orchestra let down, either for him or for the afternoon's other soloist, flutist Leone Buyse, late of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Here the subject was Vivaldi, specifically the sixth of his Op. 10 concerti, remarkably the first flute concertos ever published, around 1730.
Again string intonation was better than the opening tune-up had suggested, conductor Michael Webster - Buyse's husband - welding things together manfully. And with few exceptions her articulation could not have been more crystalline, either in the perky outer movements or amid the baroque serenity of the Largo, here beautifully trilled.
Nor was the accompaniment without a sense of style, thanks in part to divided violins and the stalwart presence of Jed Moss at the harpsichord. And if things wandered a bit more in the concluding performance of three movements from Dvorak's Serenade for Strings, at least the spirit was willing, however weak the flesh.