By invitation, Assistant Professor of Music Leon W. Couch III served as the keynote speaker and solo recitalist for the "Buxtehude Weekend" on November 13-14 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Albany, NY. The events were sponsored by the Hudson-Catskill Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
The "Buxtehude Weekend" drew organists, church musicians, and academics from the region to celebrate the increasingly popular music of Dieterich Buxtehude (c1637-1707) in a two-day event. Dr. Couch was the featured speaker and performer.
On Saturday, Dr. Couch presented the keynote lecture entitled "Playing Dieterich Buxtehude's Works Rhetorically." The three-hour lecture-demonstration disseminated his research into the analysis of musical affections and musical rhetoric of the seventeenth-century north Germany. The first half of the presentation dealt with historical background and the affections, with many musical examples played on the organ. The second half promoted Couch's theories on rhetorical analysis, with Dr. Couch once again playing musical examples. Above all, Dr. Couch outlined practical applications for musicians who play north-German Baroque keyboard music.
The solo recital on Sunday featured works from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. The program included masterworks by Dieterich Buxtehude, Johannes Pachelbel, J. S. Bach, Janet Linker, and Louis Vierne, including two movements from Vierne's infamously difficult Sixth Symphony. The first half of the program provided many examples of the topics and approaches taught in the Saturday presentation.
Dr. Couch is represented by the Concert Artist Cooperative, as advertised in The Diapason and The American Organist. Each year, he performs in numerous states and has played in major venues, such as the Spoleto Festival and in the recital series at the University of Calgary. Sample performances by Dr. Couch can be found at his website: Performance.ProfCouch.us.