The First Twenty Years #0201

Where do the hours and the months and years go? Can you believe it? Our next Pipedreams program observes the 20th anniversary of our first national broadcast, which was way back in the winter of 1982. Believe it or not, we were hatching our plans even before then. This week, hear some of those earliest tapes, plus get a sampler of things we’ve done and places we’ve been over the past two decades. After 20 years has it all been played? Not a chance. Some bright ideas never dim, and this week we’ll reflect on a score of great music and plan for the future. Organ music on the Radio? Absolutely! Listen as we celebrate the first twenty years, an anniversary retrospective, this week on Pipedreams.
1981 Schantz organ and Choir of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church1981 Schantz organ and Choir of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church

An American Organist’s Christmas #0151

A rose blooms out of season on a winter morning. The Brightest and Best stars show up in the “Company at the Creche.” Images, scenes, and personalities such asa these are present in our next Pipedreams program. It’s a showcase for the work of composers here in the United States, giving a sense of home and place to this international festival. Timothy Albrecht plays grace notes at Emory University, Nancy Whipkey leads her Ascension Children’s Choir in a cantata by Daniel Pinkham, Allison Luedecke and Robert Gallagher stir the echoes at Saint John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee, and Craig Cansler and the Choir of Saint Philip’s in Atlanta celebrates the work of Charles Beaudrot. Our torch lights up the manger scene in Bethlehem, and who do we see there but a circle of composers from the United States, celebrating the holiday with their special gifts. Tune in for An American Organist’s Christmas, this week on Pipedreams.
1996 Taylor & Boody organ at Saint Thomas Church, New York, NY1996 Taylor & Boody organ at Saint Thomas Church, New York, NY

Holiday Dreams #0150

Some of the most memorable presents are ones we’ve made ourselves, and on the next Pipedreams, you’ll listen to six stupendously talented organists who need only a theme to spark their imaginations, and they make it up from there. Delight in the inspired fantasies of Merrill Davis, playing for a concert audience in Prague; Earl Miller, rhapsodizing at a parish church in Danville, Virginia; Gerre Hancock in New York City; Hector Olivera in Los Angeles; and the inimitable Pierre Cochereau at the mighty pipe organ of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. All set off into uncharted waters and all will bring the ship safely back home filled with seasonal cheer. It’s the miraculous product of Holiday Dreams, improvisations for organ, this week on Pipedreams.
1714 Boizard organ at Saint Michel Abbey, Saint Michel en Thiérache, France1714 Boizard organ at Saint Michel Abbey, Saint Michel en Thiérache, France

Celebration International #0149

Whether on a clear midnight or a morning glorious with heavenly splendor, our next Pipedreams sings its holiday message in many languages. Frenchman Jean Guillou improvises in Switzerland, Lebanese composer Naji Hakim does the same in Paris. From the first noel to the last shepherd’s pastorale, you’ll hear music and instruments from Ireland, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and here at home, promoting a universal message of hope and happiness. Join us for a multicultural expression, Celebration International, this week on Pipedreams.
The 1841 Cavaillé-Coll organ of the basilica of Saint Denis, FranceThe 1841 Cavaillé-Coll organ of the basilica of Saint Denis, France

Advent Anticipation #0148

Seasons change, the days get shorter, and darkness seems more prevalent; it’s no wonder we become introspective at this time of year. Our next Pipedreams program plays with that theme, and the notion of expectation that comes as part of the package. Winter descends, and old chorales and chants for the season call out in earnestness and hope. We follow the Psalmist’s admonition and look to the hills for help. Is it all about hunger? In the end, music provides the key, and a dozen recitalists, plus choirs from Dallas, Texas; Bangor, Maine; Stockholm and Indianapolis ask the questions and resolve to find solutions—uncertainty, with a purpose, leads to an harmonious resolve. We acknowledge Advent Anticipation, this week on Pipedreams.
1888 Walcker organ at the Winterthur Stadtkirche, Switzerland1888 Walcker organ at the Winterthur Stadtkirche, Switzerland

Rheinberger’s Journey #0147

The principality of Liechtenstein may be one of Europe’s smallest corners, but from it sprang one of the late 19th century’s most prolific and important organists and teachers. Josef Rheinberger is the focus of our next Pipedreams program. He’s a one-time child prodigy who already was playing in church at age seven and who reigned as harmony, counterpoint and history professor at the Royal Academy of Music in Munich for three decades. A dozen different soloists join us as we follow the trail of his prodigious and influential talent from his very first compositions through the Sonatas and Concertos by which he is still remembered. He was a master in the grand romantic tradition, one of the most prolific protagonists of the organ, and a teacher of some of America’s best turn-of-the-century composers. Discover treasures from a bygone day, and join us for the glorious music of Josef Rheinberger, as we embark on Rheinberger’s Journey, this week on Pipedreams.
1998 Rosales & Glatter-Götz organ at Claremont United Church1998 Rosales & Glatter-Götz organ at Claremont United Church

Going On Record #0146

We explore things new and engaging on our next Pipedreams program, sampling recent releases of organ music on CD, including a jazzy Te Deum from Germany, the sound of praise today. With saxophone? Sure. Plus we’ll have trumpet voluntaries featuring festival reed stops on instruments in Kilgore, Texas; Hendersonville, North Carolina; and Chartres, France. The 1930 Skinner organ at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio, is at its best under the hands of Todd Wilson, but really old is the 1730 Trost organ at Waltershausen, Germany, playing music by a kid who grew up just west of there, Johann Sebastian Bach. Would Bach have approved? Absolutely, because he knew the builder of this instrument and loved his work. These and other stunning sounds from cathedrals in Toledo, Ohio, and Saint Louis, Missouri, and a jazz-friendly congregation in Stuttgart are all part of the plan. We’re Going on Record with CDs in review, this week on Pipedreams.
Hendrickson Organ, Wayzata Community ChurchHendrickson Organ, Wayzata Community Church

American Perspectives #0145

Composer and critic Virgil Thomson had the right idea. For him, regardless of style or attitude, if a piece of music was written by an American it qualified as American Music. And that’s what you’ll hear on our next Pipedreams program. There’ll be several zesty settings of popular hymns, jazzy toccatas, and dances including a boogie-woogie, picturesque scenes, historic take-offs, and even a profound Passacaglia, played on sonorous instruments by Rosales, Skinner, Hendrickson, and Wurlitzer. From California to Connecticut, from Bingham to Bitgood, ours is a coast-to-coast survey of colorful organ scores. Frances Nobert, Diane Belcher, James Biery, Diana Lee Lucker, and Charlie Balogh with the Wichita State University Jazz Ensemble are all part of the party as we sample American Perspectives, this week on Pipedreams.
Felix HellFelix Hell

Felicitous Felix #0144

He took his first keyboard lesson at age seven, and only two years later won an important competition, made his international recital debut, and took on the duties of a church organist. Talk about precocious. On our next Pipedreams program, we visit with the talented young German phenom, Felix Hell, a student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with three compact discs and more than 200 recitals to his credit in Europe, Russia, and the United States. Did we mention that he just turned 16? We’ll chat with Felix and his father Hans-Friedrich, listen to performances from ‘the early years’, and sample his current state-of-the-art in concert and on CD. And you thought that organ music was only for old folks? Audiences around the world are changing their mind when presented with the dynamic playing of Felix Hell. It’s Felicitous Felix, this week on Pipedreams.

Ricercare for the Sky #0143

Deep in its heart, it is all about a search for poetic, and musical, truth. On our next Pipedreams program, we investigate the tradition of the Ricercare, one of the earliest forms of Baroque instrumental music. Our examples take us back to the mid 16th century and feature an instrument even one hundred years older, at a Basilica in Bologna. Simple themes develop and interweave in phrases both rhapsodic and rigorous. Beyond the fertile Italian homeland, we visit churches in Stockholm, San Francisco, and the Netherlands for performances by John Weaver, Massimo Nosetti, Liuwe Tamminga, and Jean Guillou of works by Bach and Frescobaldi, and Menotti. Ancient and eloquent, our ears follow it heavenward. Ricercare for the Sky the ancient art of counterpoint, this week on Pipedreams.

The Joke's On Us

…share in humoresques, scherzos, fantasies and other compositions done up with a sense of fun and surprise. Who says the organ must always be so serious. It’s not all solemn processionals. The king of instruments does have a sense of humor, too, as you’ll discover on our next Pipedreams program, where wry wit, sardonic satire, and a general joviality prevail. Bill Albright’s nifty narration provides a key element, as do songs by Stephen Sondheim and Henry Mancini, scherzos and fantasies played in Souvigny and San Francisco, and a humerous hornpipe played in Sydney Australia. That’s but part of the fun. We’ll also sample concert instruments in Dallas and Yokoyama, theatre organs in Kansas and Arizona, and one of the finest French antiques from the 18th century, still capable of a big smile. Curious chords prove that the Joke is On Us - humoresques for organ, this week on Pipedreams.
1980 Klais organ at Altenberg Cathedral1980 Klais organ at Altenberg Cathedral

Partita Time #0141

Our next Pipedreams program explores the matter of multiples, those collections of musical movements which fall under the term partita. They might be variations on a chant theme, psalm tune or popular song, or just a suite of delicious diversions. In every case they give the player an ordered opportunity to strut their stuff and us the chance to hear the lovely colors of which fine pipe organs are capable. At cathedrals in Altenberg and Saint Louis, or village churches in Kiedrich or Zella-Mehlis, though the addresses are unusual, the sonic surprises are of top quality. Investigate the entertaining and honorable tradition of keyboard variations, good tunes all dressed up with somewhere to go. Klaas Bolt, Mary Beth Bennett, Joseph Payne, and Philip Crozier set out the refreshments for a fun affair, as we get ready for Partita Time, this week on Pipedreams.
Christopher HerrickChristopher Herrick

Organ Fireworks #0140

Some people just enjoy a challenge. On our next Pipedreams program, we visit with one such challenged individual, a former organist at Westminster Abbey who’s now a full-time recitalist. Just to say he’d done it, Christopher Herrick went and recorded and performed in concert the complete works of Bach. But that was just a beginning. He’s scoured the world in search of interesting instruments and we’ll hear him play wide-ranging repertoire on organs from around the world. There’s no doubt HE sets off Organ Fireworks. It’s not just concert sparklers, but the whole range of musical opportunity explored by a recitalist and recording artist who has travelled the world to find just the right sound for his successful Hyperion recordings. From London’s Temple Church to the Town Hall of Wellington, New Zealand, you’ll be delighted by Christopher Herrick’s Organ Fireworks, this week on Pipedreams.
1992 C.B. Fisk Organ at the Meyerson Symphony Center1992 C.B. Fisk Organ at the Meyerson Symphony Center

Out of the‘B’s Nest #0139

It’s all about collegiality. On our next Pipedreams program, the organ teams up with all sorts of friends including it’s keyboard cousin, the piano, plus other brassy relations - the trumpet and trombone. You’ll hear a little lullaby for organ and harp, a haunting fantasy for organ and electronic-tape that is amazingly effective plus a transcription of an orchestral tone poem by Franz Liszt, a spicy Baroque Concerto by Michel Corrette, and a lusty march by Alexandre Guilmant. Think variety organ with trumpet, organ with trombone, organ with choir, or harp, or piano, or symphony orchestra, even organ with electronic tape. We’re going to set aside all churchly implications and team up with many instrumental friends. Think beyond the box. Organ Plus, this week on Pipedreams.

Organ Plus

…another exploration of the remarkable repertoire for pipe organ in consort with other instruments and voices. It’s all about collegiality. On our next Pipedreams program, the organ teams up with all sorts of friends including it’s keyboard cousin, the piano, plus other brassy relations –the trumpet and trombone. You’ll hear a little lullaby for organ and harp, a haunting fantasy for organ and electronic-tape that is amazingly effective plus a transcription of an orchestral tone poem by Franz Liszt, a spicy Baroque Concerto by Michel Corrette, and a lusty march by Alexandre Guilmant. Think variety organ with trumpet, organ with trombone, organ with choir, or harp, or piano, or symphony orchestra, even organ with electronic tape. We’re going to set aside all churchly implications and team up with many instrumental friends. Think beyond the box. Organ Plus, this week on Pipedreams.
1996 Rieger organ at Fuldaer Dom, Fulda, Germany1996 Rieger organ at Fuldaer Dom, Fulda, Germany

From the Wolf’s Den #0137

He lives in the countryside just down the road from Valparaiso University, he’s got a recording studio and a barber shop in the barn out back, and spends considerable time teaching in Saarebruecken, Germany, and Appleton, Wisconsin. And when he plays, his imagination works overtime. We visit with the ever stimulating and always iconoclastic Wolfgang Rübsam to understand why amidst all the other distractions organ music continues to feed his soul and, through him, ours. As a former pilot, a barber, recording engineer, teacher, and recitalist, he’s totally fearless, and willing even to risk a Bach Trio Sonata in concert. Wolfgang Rübsam reflects on his career and accomplishments, and shares some great and timeless music, From the Wolf’s Den, this week on Pipedreams.