After practicing this morning, I took the BART to the very end of the line, Millbrae, where I was picked up and driven to the home of Joe Hansen and Rick Cicinelli. If you go back and read my post about our performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor in 2011 (“Total triumph“) you will know that my late husband, Carl Crosier, gave Joe Hansen the mentor award during intermission. You see, Joe was the choir director of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu when Carl was hired to be the organist in 1972. After Joe moved to California in 1975 he and Carl still kept closely in touch because of their mutual passion for church music, and they would have frequent two-hour phone calls—yes, in the days before free long-distance calling!
So when Carl gave his final concert, the B-minor Mass, Joe and Rick flew out to Hawaii for the occasion and Carl cooked dinner for them one night that week. It has been five years since I’ve seen Joe, who unfortunately has not been in good health since January when he got bacterial meningitis.
The good news is that he is one of the rare survivors of this disease. Joe recently purchased a 21-rank Rieger pipe organ from an Episcopal church in Fresno, CA at a bargain-basement price. He believes his total recovery will come about after he starts practicing Bach trio sonatas, which he plans to do very shortly!
You see, Joe believes, and I agree totally, that the trio sonatas are among the most brain- and skill-challenging music ever written. Your right and left hands move totally independently, which is hard enough by itself, then you add in a completely independent pedal part—resulting in pure nakedness walking on eggshells!
I reminded Joe that one of the pieces that I am playing in tomorrow’s concert is like a trio sonata, the Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr. Even superstar organist, Nathan Laube, told me he thought this was the most difficult piece in Clavierübung!
I showed Joe the memorial book I made about Carl as well as programs from the 40th anniversary of the Beckerath organ (Joe was one of three key people in the decision to sign the contract with Beckerath) and the memorial concert program we did last year, the Duruflé Requiem with the Frank Ferko double choir mass.
We had a delicious dinner and spent many hours catching up and “talking organ.” I look forward to seeing Joe and Rick tomorrow night at my concert.