Nathan Laube
Nathan Laube

Nathan Inaugurates Northrop #2037

. . . internationally-acclaimed American recitalist Nathan Laube plays the first public concert on the renovated 108-rank Aeolian-Skinner organ at the University of Minnesota.

Hour One

RICHARD WAGNER (trans. Warren-Lemare-Laube):  Tannhäuser Overture

HENRY MARTINPrelude & Fugue No. 22 in F (premiere)

FRANZ LISZT (trans. Laube):  Les Préludes (Symphonic Poem No. 3)

Filler – MARTIN Fugue No. 22 (see above)

Hour Two

J. S. BACHHerzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727. LOUIS VIERNEImpromptu, fr Fantasy Pieces, Op. 54, no. 2AUGUSTIN BARIÉToccata, Op. 7, no. 3Dean Billmeyer (r. 11/23/1998)

MARTINPrelude & Fugue No. 21 in d (premiere)

JULIUS REUBKESonata on the 94th Psalm

Filler – LISZT “Les Preludes” (see above)

Inaugurated in 1929 as the University of Minnesota’s main convocation space, Northrop Auditorium originally seated nearly 5000 people and, in addition to countless lectures and official ceremonies, provided a home to both the Minneapolis Symphony (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra) and the Metropolitan Opera on tour and a venue for many other notable guests, from Springsteen to Stravinsky.

With 6,982 pipes, Northrop’s Aeolian-Skinner organ (Opus 892, built in stages between 1932 and 1935) is one of the largest instruments in the upper Midwest.  Located above the proscenium, it originally spoke via a tone-chute through a dense plaster ceiling grill.  In those days only listeners in the balcony had a direct line-of-sight connection to its pipework, though even so the organ’s effect was quite splendid  as its tone wafted grandly into the immense, if slightly dead, room.

In a project to repair and repurpose the Northrop facility as a state-of-the-art performance venue (2011-2014), the main auditorium area, the Carlson Family Stage, was reduced in volume and capacity to 2,692 seats.  The organ, as recommissioned by Foley-Baker, Inc., remains tonally intact, with chests and actions restored and all pipework retaining its original voice and character.  However, chest and chamber placement has been altered, and the instrument also boasts new keyboards and console controls within the original console shell.  Though still situated above the proscenium, the organ does benefit from a much more transparent and direct avenue of tonal projection.  

Nathan Laube, who taught at the Eastman School from 2013-2020, in October joins the faculty of the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart.  His Northrop performance was recorded on December 4, 2018.  Minnesota Public Radio’s Cameron Wiley served as audio engineer.  This instrument will be heard next in Northrop Organ Series appearances by Katelyn Emerson (September 28, 2020), Dean Billmeyer (February 9, 2021) and Paul Jacobs (April 13, 2021).

Enjoy the sound of the Opus 892 in its original setting as Dr. Dean Billmeyer plays works by Wagner, Franck, Bolcom, and Duruflé in 1982, the year of his appointment to the Music Faculty of the University of Minnesota.

Continuing support of PIPEDREAMS is provided in loving memory of Wesley and Lucinda Dudley by their family, with additional support from Walter McCarthy, Clara Ueland, and the Greystone Foundation, by Jan Kirchner on behalf of her family foundation, by the Art and Martha Kaemmer Fund of the HRK Foundation, in celebration of the life of Martha Hulings Kaemmer, and by listener-contributors to this public radio station. Additional support comes from the Muller Pipe Organ Company of Croton, OH, and Patrick J. Murphy & Associates, Inc. of Stowe, PA, members of APOBA, the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, a collaborative of designers, creators, and maintainers of pipe organs found in religious and educational institutions, concert halls, and residences throughout the United States and beyond. An APOBA resource guide and member prospectus is available at APOBA.COM.