Within the first few minutes of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia's 140th anniversary concert with the Kimmel Center organ, you wondered why the two aren't married with children.
The two entities seem made for each other. The chorus' robust sound matches that of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, which, in the hands of Michael Stairs, has a versatility that makes the instrument an accompanist in myriad ways, though it roars into the foreground at the right moments.
The Friday program explored choral/organ works not often heard for reasons that seem to have little to do with their quality. Britten's Festival Te Deum is everything you could want from a celebratory work, with extra harmonic guts that don't always attend such big public pieces. Louis Vierne, a composer not heard often enough, was represented by his Messe Solennelle - not his most consistent work. Though never lacking arresting ideas, the piece too often falls back on warm-bath harmonies. Dupre's Four Motets, though, is a significant discovery, each of its parts a world unto itself, including a haunting aria for alto sung meltingly by Jennifer Beattie.