In 1691, French tragedian Jean Racine wrote a play about this Biblical queen, entitled Athalie. The German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), among others, wrote incidental music (his op. 74) to Racine's play, first performed in Berlin in 1845. One of the most frequently heard excerpts from the Mendelssohn music is titled "War March of the Priests" ("Kriegsmarsch der Priester").
Anyone who has seen Vincent Price in the "Dr. Phibes" movies will recall the IMMENSE effect this music has when "played by" Dr. Phibes as he AND the organ rise up out of the floor!!!! :-0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEIjP_k-u_g
The version played "by" Dr. Phibes is the best and most famous version in the transcription by W.T. Best (1826-97), the greatest concert organist of his day. It is a true classic of the genre, and like many of his other transcriptions, was trememndously popular at a time when it was not always easy to hear these piece in their original orchestral versions. Such arrangements also had the advantage of showing off both instrument and performer to fullest extent.
The works begins with "drumrolls" in the pedal, and then works its way through the main theme. A darker section in the minor leads back to the opening material. This is followed by a quiet, chorale-like section with a pizzicato in the pedal. The fanfares return to the opening material. Before the end, the "chorale" appears on the "Great reeds", with all of this leading to the thundering conclusion! ;-)
Once again, the SLOW Swell box of Salisbury made this more difficult. Also, as I mentioned, those annoying and ruinous (of the recording) "midi pops" that seem to occur VERY frequently on the Salisbury set plagued me again. At least 6 times, recordings were destroyed by these "little explosions", causing me to start over - and over - and over... :-(
Anyway, with the darkness of Holy Week rapidly approaching, here's a BIG piece of joy for you! :-)