1981 Oberlinger organ1981 Oberlinger organ

Franckly Unexpected #0117

One of the late romantic masterworks for orchestra is a symphony by Cesar Franck. And one of the great achievements of the 19th century French organ school was this same Cesar Franck’s introduction of a symphonic manner of writing for the pipe organ. But the Symphonic Organ and Franck’s D-minor Symphony are not usually on the same page… that is until our next Pipedreams broadcast when Jane Parker-Smith and Thomas Murray apply their magic to a remarkably effective transcription of the piece. Other items qualify as recent discoveries, some hundred years after the fact, and one familiar score may surprise you with its unconventional conclusion. They don’t teach it this way in the conservatory. Indeed, everything about the work of this estimable French composer is more than a bit out of the ordinary. It’s either been arranged, newly discovered, or radically transcribed. All of it’s enjoyable, and Franckly Unexpected. The music of Cesar Franck, this week on Pipedreams.
1979 Casavant Frères organ, Opus 3418, at Wellshire Presbyterian, Denver, Colorado1979 Casavant Frères organ, Opus 3418, at Wellshire Presbyterian, Denver, Colorado

Archive of American Muse #0116

We take the psalmists directive, at least for few moments, and venture Beside Still Waters on our next Pipedreams program by listening to music by American composers. Douglas Cleveland plays Dan Locklair’s Windows of Comfort… a series of movements inspired by Tiffany stained glass window scenes. David Higgs presents the world premiere of Three Meditations, by Augusta Read Thomas, and Mary Preston joins the Colorado Symphony for a colorful and sizzling new Concerto for Organ and Orchestra by Gerald Near which might make you stand up and shout bravo. From alpha to omega, we explore the living art of colorful contemporary repertoire with Douglas Cleveland, David Higgs, and Mary Preston as our soloist guides. From an Organist’s Guild Convention in Denver, it’s the American Muse at work, this week on Pipedreams.
1692 Arp Schnitger organ [plus additions] at the Martinikerk, Groningen, The Netherlands1692 Arp Schnitger organ [plus additions] at the Martinikerk, Groningen, The Netherlands

This Joyful Eastertide #0115

With themes from ancient chants and traditional hymn, we celebrate a season of reawakening on our next Pipedreams program, exploring four centuries of music for the Resurrection Festival. Through performances on historic instruments at Altenburg Abbey and the Martini Church in Groningen, the Netherlands, we’ll discover that Johann Sebastian was not the first Bach family organist, though hwe was certainly the most ingenious. Franz Lehrndorfer will improvise on the immense new instrument at the Cathedral in Munich. And Melanie Ninneman and Helen Jensen perform a seasonal duet. It’s music to raise the spirits, literally - a seasonal selection from four centuries of compositions on resurrection themes, with works by Pachelbel and John Rutter, a fantastic improvisation from the Munich Cathedral, and some of Bach’s most exuberant chorale-preludes. All together, their colors and harmonies will stir your soul - music for This Joyful Eastertide, this week on Pipedreams.
1990 Wigton organ at Saint Mary’s Church in Detroit, Michigan1990 Wigton organ at Saint Mary’s Church in Detroit, Michigan

Historic Organs of Michigan #0113

Some of them are small and could fit in your living room. Others are large and make a mighty noise. All of them are old, but what does age mean in this context? On our next Pipedreams, we hear the music of historic pipe organs in and around Detroit. Some still are playing in their original settings, others have been moved to new homes, properly restored to begin a second century of use. All tell us something about times past, when the organbuilder’s art in the United States was at its first full bloom. They look back over more than one hundred fifty years of experience, and remind us that beauty is as much in reflection as forward motion. Aesthetic archeologist and fixit-magician Dana Hull shares some surprises from her territory. She shares her insights, introducing us to a vibrant and sturdy breed: the Historic Organs of Michigan, this week on Pipedreams.
1913 Welte Wotan of the Sanfilippo Collection1913 Welte Wotan of the Sanfilippo Collection

A Home for Music #0112

It must be pretty wonderful to have a pipe organ in your living room and still more amazing to own the largest theatre organ in the world. On our next Pipedreams program, we visit the Place de Musique, Jasper and Marion Sanfilippo’s snazzy residence north of Chicago to hear Tom Hazleton play the Mighty Wurlitzer Plus, and explore with curator Robert Ridgeway some of the other marvelous musical machinery for which the Sanfilippos have an obvious fascination. Before radio, surround-sound stereos and video arcades, you could summon your own private concert at the drop of a coin. Hear the photoplayers, music boxes, automatic violinas and orchestrions all restored to better-than-new condition. Hear a world of music spring to life as we visit a private collection of marvelous mechanical musical instruments: band organs, pianolas, a violano-virtuoso, and a Mighty Wurlitzer. In the company of Tom Hazleton and Robert Ridgeway, ours is a special guided tour like no other of A Home for Music this week on Pipedreams.
1997 Noack organ at Epiphany Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA1997 Noack organ at Epiphany Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA

Bach For Springtime #0111

He’s absolutely the best tonic for any time of year. On our next Pipedreams program, we anticipate the coming of spring and celebrate the March birthday of arguably the world’s finest composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. Drawing on some exclusive-to-Pipedreams recital recordings from the American Guild of Organists Convention in Seattle, you’ll hear James David Christie at Saint Alphonsus Church, Christa Rakich at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Paul Jacobs at Epiphany Episcopal, and Robert Bates at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Also James Kibbie at University of Michigan, Peter Sykes in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Bill Chouinard at the Wooddale Church in Minnesota. It’s a Prelude in C, a Concerto in G, and other music sent Vom Himmel hoch, from heaven above. American organists recorded in recital in Seattle, Eden Prairie, Ann Arbor, and Reykjavik celebrate the change of seasons and honor one of history’s all-time greats. We offer Bach for Springtime, this week on Pipedreams.
1950 Holtkamp organ at Crouse College, Syracuse, New York, New York1950 Holtkamp organ at Crouse College, Syracuse, New York, New York

Alexandre the Great #0110

Before the age of intercontinental air travel, he travelled thousands of miles touring the world as a virtuoso recitalist. The friendly and fatherly Alexander Guilmant also taught at the Paris Conservatory and, along with his compatriots Franck and Widor, revolutionized the art of the organ in 19th century France. Guilmant’s repertoire covered four centuries, and his own compositions number in the hundreds, embracing equally sweet sentiment, intimate charm, and the glory and passion that only organ music can deliver. We’ll offer you a taste of the best, from Pastorales to Caprices, Marches to Madrigals, Sonatas to Symphonies. With an international reputation and an exceptional repertoire, Alexander Guilmant ranks high on the list of famous French organists, and you’ll know why when you listen to his music. It’s Alexandre the Great, this week on Pipedreams.
1890 Hill organ at Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, Australia1890 Hill organ at Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, Australia

March Forth! #0109

The impulse is inexorable, and it’s not just the organist’s feet that want to move out. Our next Pipedreams program celebrates the ceremonial and the aerobic opportunities of music in the manner of a march. Some pieces have the expected pomp and circumstance, but others are majestic, or joyous, or somber, or even side-splittingly funny. Siamese children, archers, marionettes, three kings, and even penguins get into the act, as we step right out according to rank and file. Whether stepping out to a little number by Bach, or a grand romp by Sousa or Elgar, we’ll get our legs and ears in shape and take advantage of an energy which makes you want to move. Ready? Start with your left left-right organ music for a parade. We March Forth!, this week on Pipedreams.

Seattle's Pride

It’s organ and orchestra on our next Pipedreams program, from the inaugural week’s concerts at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall where the Watjen Concert Organ, built by C.B. Fisk, made its debut with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle symphony during the Millennial Year National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. Hatsumi Miura premiere’s Robert Sirota’s new piece, In the Fullness of Time, resident curator Carole Terry performs Aaron Copland’s path-breaking Symphony Number 1, and Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet-Hakim introduces the vibrant Seattle Concerto by her husband, Naji Hakim. The crowds at Benaroya Hall went wild, and you will, too, as we share in Seattle’s Pride, America’s newest concert organ, this week on Pipedreams. There’s unrepentant optimism in the new Seattle Concerto by Naji Hakim, and a world of expressive possibility in music by Copland and Robert Sirota featuring the potent Watjen Concert Organ recently inaugurated at Benaroya Hall by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony. It’s Seattle’s Pride this week on Pipedreams.

Alain On Alain (Part 1)

…the famous French recitalist, recording artist and teacher Marie-Claire Alain talks about her life and shares her music. With more than 200 albums to her credit, she is synonymous with the art of French organ music today. On our next Pipedreams program, Marie-Claire Alain talks about her family’s history, including the time when her organist father built an instrument for their home, upon which her older brother composed some of the foremost works of the 20th century. Meanwhile, this little black sheep of the talented Alain family grew up to be a famous teacher and recitalist who helped popularize the French Classics, and has recorded the complete works of Bach three times. Marie-Claire Alain talks and plays from the heart. She is a vital force in broadening the French musical perspective. Daughter and sister, teacher and recitalist, she has lived a life with and for music. Hear her story Alain on Alain this week on Pipedreams.
Mickey Thomas TerryMickey Thomas Terry

In Black and White #0106

The work of African-American organ composers is a powerfully compelling story in music and on our next Pipedreams broadcast we’ll explore its diverse nature. With performer and commentator Mickey Thomas Terry, we’ll visit the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Saint Patrick’s Church, and the National Presbyterian Church, all located in Washington, DC. Here we’ll listen to largely unknown creations by Thomas Kerr, William Cooper, Noel DaCosta, George Walker and Eugene Hancock. We’re highlighting music for organ with African percussion, and organ solo settings of African-American spirituals, music for church services, and pieces for the concert hall. It’s a multi-faceted discovery, spelled out In Black and White the African-American organ art, this week on Pipedreams.

From "C" to Shining "C"

…through works of the Couperin Family, we provide a fog-reducing introduction to music in French Classic style. Truly fit for a king. Their family dynasty served the Royal French Court, and French music, for nearly 200 years. The Couperins were masters of the keyboard and organists at the Church of Saint Gervais in Paris from 1653 to 1830. On our next Pipedreams broadcast, we’ll explore their works: the majestic and austere verses and fantasies by Uncle Louis, the charming miniatures of the grandson Arman-Louis and his son Gervais-Francois, and the monumental and poetic Masses by François Couperin who was called “The Great” for good reason. It’s a study of the evolution of style, and an introduction to the flavorful recipes of Classic French organ registration. This week, we’ll also hear program host Michael Barone demonstrate a few “French Classic” registrations with some illustrative performances. For anyone who has ever wanted to hear him play, here’s your chance! The colors are rich, the rhythms saucy, the flavors as beguiling as a good French wine. We’ll savor the art of the Baroque Organ in Paris, through music from four generations of the famous Couperin family: Louis, Armand, Gervaise, and Francois. From “C” to Shining “C”, an introduction to elegance, this week on Pipedreams.
1997 Goulding & Wood organ at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey1997 Goulding & Wood organ at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey

Sounds from Sacred Spaces #0104

The tradition of organ music in Christian community chapels dates back to the middle ages but, as you’ll discover on our next Pipedreams program, it’s still a very lively tradition. We’ll hear four instruments, three of them newly installed, play music both historic and modern. Buxtehude and Pinkham at Mount Saint Joseph Convent in Kentucky, Reger at Saint Norbert’s Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin, pieces by James Hopkins and Marius Walter premiered at Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon, and works by James Primosh, Libby Larsen, and Maurice Duruflé recorded at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, star, as we sample new Sounds from Sacred Spaces. We celebrate the related arts of composition and instrument building with a program of new music on new pipe organ installations featuring the artistry of Cherry Rhodes, Ladd Thomas, Douglas Reed, David Heller, and Douglas Cleveland. Let the spirits soar to Sounds from Sacred Spaces, this week on Pipedreams.
Willis Organ of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, LondonWillis Organ of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London

England’s Glory #0103

The magnificent Organ Sonata by Sir Edward Elgar is but one of the highlights of this week’s Pipedreams broadcast. In it, four players, two in London and two in New England, will revel in an almost orchestral wash of color. Joseph Payne plays from the Mulliner Book, Malcolm Archer takes us to Lancaster Town Hall, Robert Wolley performs 16th century music on an instrument equally old, and Colin Walsh has a blast at Lincoln Cathedral. Experience the lush sounds that characterize organ music from jolly old England. Beyond Bach and Franck and Widor, there’s a wonderful realm of experience awaiting us in the works of British composers. From the Mulliner Book and early pieces by Orlando Gibbons and Dr. John Bull, through the proud pages of Hubert Parry and Charles Stanford, to the entire First Sonata by Edward Elgar, we prove it’s not a desert island as regards its organ music. Come and celebrate England’s Glory, this week on Pipedreams.
1985 Fisk organ at Ann Arbor, Michigan1985 Fisk organ at Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Art of Marilyn Mason #0102

She was the first American to record the Schoenberg Variations and has been a life-long advocate of new music for her instrument. On the next Pipedreams program, we visit with Dr. Marilyn Mason who has been on the faculty of the University of Michigan for more than half a century. She’s one of a kind, and her boundless energy continues to inspire through her teaching, her recitals, and the study-tours she leads to historic instruments abroad. She’ll reflect on her career, share some sage advice for living a good life, and play just a few of the many pieces in her expansive repertoire. At Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall, the National Shrine in Washington, and at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, we’ll celebrate The Art of Marilyn Mason. She blows her own horn, but that’s OK since she has plenty of which to be proud a long list of commissioned works and premiere performances, several hundred successful students from her University of Michigan studio, and a life-time of achievement and personal satisfaction. We celebrate The Art of Marilyn Mason this week on Pipedreams.
1999 Noack organ from Reykjavik, Iceland1999 Noack organ from Reykjavik, Iceland

Going On Record #0101

From a parish church in Raykjavik, Iceland, to a splendid mansion near Philadelphia, our next Pipedreams program samples great sounds and keeps your finger on the pulse of the pipe organ world. It’s a review of recent compact discs, giving you an opportunity to hear the largest church organ in America, a brand-new installation in Seattle, historic instruments in Central Germany from the time of Bach, and a stunning organ-with-trumpet duo from France. We’ll also listen to a sensuous Arabesque by Debussy, a youthful Pastorale by Ned Rorem, new music by Pamela Decker, a tango - believe it or not, and some jazzy measures from the old country. This week’s program is a wild mix of new organ compact discs including jazz stylings from Germany, a Tango from the Desert, Variations in Seattle, a sweet song from the DuPont summer mansion, and Bach in Iceland. John Weaver, Peter Sykes, Michael Keeley, and other share the glory as we sample new releases of organ compact discs, Going On Record, this week on Pipedreams.