Three Very Strong Organ Concerts by Jasmin Rasch in St. Paul’s Church, Vladivostok
In 2006 we received our first organ and it was a gift from Trinity Lutheran
Church. Melbourne, Australia and conveyed to us by our good friend there, Hans Schroeder. Other Lutheran congregations in Australia also contributed funds. This organ resounded for the first time in our St. Paul‘s Church during three Easter Concerts on April 20, 21 and 22, 2006. These concerts were a giant success already back then as we had a packed church, because Russians love organ music. (see www.luthvostok.com 4/10/06)
And thus began the “glorious” series of our organ concerts with foreign organists. The series began with Church Music Director Volkmar Zehner, who gave 3 concerts in St. Paul’s Church during our Vladivostok Cultural Days in October 2006. (see www.luthvostok.com September 26, 2006). In 2008 we received our second organ, but this time it came from Germany, a gift from Mrs. Stoll. On April 6, 7, and 8, 2008 we had “Three Festive
Concerts—Two Organs in our Church” with organist Kerstin Wolf, Hamburg, Germany and Manfred Brockmann, Vladivostok (see www.luthvostok.com April 14, 2008). Our first organ from Australia is now located in St. Luke’s Church in Arsenyev and is played by organist Svetlana Filitovitch.
In the last ten years, beginning with 2006, we have had 18 organists from outside this country and several of them have played here several times! Each of them gave three concerts. Our church was always full and St. Paul’s has become well-known for its organ concerts and organ music belongs to every proper Lutheran worship service. The majority of organists have come from Germany but we have had organists from France (Likonel Avot, Paris, who has been here twice) and from Poland (Vitold Salevski, who was here for the last Cultural Days).
And recently we had Organist Jasmin Rasch from St. Andrew’s Church in Hamburg who gave three concerts on May 15, 16, 17, 2015 . A person could definitely say that these were the strongest concerts we have ever had here at St. Paul’s Church! This still young organist is a prodigy. Already at age 13 she was the regular organist for a Lutheran Church in Germany. Her playing was impressive, engrossing, strong, disciplined and expressive. Her playing was rigorous and rich in the style of our Johann Sebastian Bach. Each single voice was able to be heard in the weaving together of the polyphonic voicing. She was a master of registration. Beside three major works of J.S. Bach, including Toccatas and Fugues, she played works by Bach’s teacher Dietrich Buxtehude, French composer Fr. Couperin and the overwhelming music of Oliver Messiaen, “Dieu parmi nous” (God is with Us), a very contemporary composition. And her improvisation is rich and imaginative. Not everyone can do this.
It was three evenings in which her music captured everyone. And it was very easy to see the impact: People left the church with completely different faces than when they entered the church. This music is a comfort for our difficult lives and the music in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach is especially comforting. This music is a message from another world, where goodness and abundance (John 10:11) as well as order, stability and eternity rule.
Manfred Brockmann, Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Vladivostok, May 20 2015
PS We are providing additional training for our own organists. Church Music Director H.J. Wulf from Hamburg, Germany has invited our organist Stepan Menschoikin and our Svetlana Babenzeva to spend four weeks in August at the Church Music School in Lübeck, Germany. There they will receive instruction from the Russian organist Sergei Tschereponoff, who is supposed to be even stronger that the German organists. And that is saying something.