1746 Hildebrandt organ at Wenzelskirche, Naumburg, Germany1746 Hildebrandt organ at Wenzelskirche, Naumburg, Germany

An Organist’s Yearbook #0253

What’s past was yesterday’s future. In this week’s program we take look in both directions by summing up happenings in the year 2002 and projecting our future into the new year. We’ll have snapshots from a European tour, birthday celebrations for some noted composers, a few highlights from superb concerts we’ve attended, and reflections on important personalities who have gone to their reward. Trumpets sound forth, ancient pipes sing out, and persuasive personalities make the case for the King of Instruments as we celebrate the New Year and savor highlights from the Old. This week we take our annual look back & forward by pondering the pages in An Organist’s Yearbook.
1880 Cavaillé-Coll organ at Holy Cross Cathedral in Orleans, France1880 Cavaillé-Coll organ at Holy Cross Cathedral in Orleans, France

The Nativity of the Lord #0252

Our songs are without words, colorful portraits painted with tones alone. This week, Paul Manz spins tuneful improvisations around familiar holiday melodies, and then Olivier Messiaen infuses mere chords and rhythms with an almost iconic presence. Shepherds and Magi, heavenly hosts and eternal purposes hover above a mother and child in Bethlehem, as we meditate upon the magic of the season and the mysteries of faith. Nine recitalists, from Germany, Britain, Sweden, the United States and France retell the story of The Nativity of the Lord in a unique expression for holiday reflection.
1983 Oberlinger organ at the Mainz Cathedral, Germany1983 Oberlinger organ at the Mainz Cathedral, Germany

A Christmas Festival #0251

The charm of folk tunes and the charismatic character of an international array of instruments and soloists enlivens this program of seasonal fare. Franz Lehrndorfer improvises at Saint Boniface Church in Munich, Ann Labounsky plays the work of her famous teacher Jean Langlais, and Todd Wilson shows off the Skinner organ at Cleveland’s Severance Hall. We offer holiday music of the shepherds and angels from around the world. Listen to variations from Munich and Dieppe, hymn preludes from Cleveland and Tacoma, and fine-wrought fantasies from Methuen and Fort Lauderdale as part of A Christmas Festival.
1968 Aeolian-Skinner organ at Trinity Church, New York, NY1968 Aeolian-Skinner organ at Trinity Church, New York, NY

Prepare the Way #0250

It is a procession of hope, a progression from darkness into light, the weeks of Advent anticipation. But this week, we’ll rush the season a bit, mixing music of joyful abandon with other scores perhaps just a bit reticent and watchful. Joel Martinson, John Rutter, William Mathias and Richard Purvis give fresh interpretation to prophetic scripture, while organists John Gowens, Guy Bovet, Richard Cummins and Frederick Hohman apply the King of Instruments to a celebration of the King of Kings. Poetic reflections and exuberant outbursts proclaim a holy season, with overriding hopes for peace on earth. With carols and anthems, preludes and dances, let instruments and choirs lift your spirits in anticipation of Christmas as we Prepare the Way.
2000 Kuhn-Hradetzky organ at Treviso Cathedral2000 Kuhn-Hradetzky organ at Treviso Cathedral

Millennium Pipes #0249

The professional journals show an incredible stream of new organs, but when the national newspapers herald the installation of some lovely instrument, you get a convincing sense that the pipe organ is still a viabile medium for our modern times. In this week’s program, we celebrate two new instruments in Minnesota: the Noack organ at Saint Paul Seminary Chapel, and a new Casavant at Incarnation Lutheran Church, a Saint Paul suburb. We’ll also travel to the cathedral in Treviso, Italy, for a continental perspective. With music from Mozart to Messiaen, David Jenkins, Diane Belcher and Eric Lebrun put three new organs through the motions, proving that the art of the king of instruments is alive and well in the 21st century.
at House of Hope Presbyterian, Saint Paul, MNat House of Hope Presbyterian, Saint Paul, MN

In Concert #0248

There is nothing like the spontaneity of a live performance. In most cases, you simply had to have been there. To help the rest of us out, this week’s show brings the thrill of it all to our door. Savor the excitement when young virtuoso Raina Wood plays at Emory University, when John Ogasapian explores byways of American music at Saint Thomas Church, New York, and when the duet team of Dee Ann Crossley and Nancy Lancaster make the House of Hope Fisk organ in Saint Paul really sing. All of our music was recorded In Concert and you’ll hear it as it happened.
2000 van den Heuvel organ at the Katarina Church, Stockholm2000 van den Heuvel organ at the Katarina Church, Stockholm

Going On Record #0247

From sprightly Renaissance dances to grandious symphonies, this week’s show celebrates the many diverse elements which make organ music so remarkable, and a mirror of changes in western culture. Style, emotion, compositional and mechanical ingenuity all play a part in creating music of joy and contemplation, of restraint and exhultation. Whether in folk-song improvisation or anthem accompaniment, flashy toccata or rhumba-inspired trumpet voluntary, the pipe organ does it all. Listen to newly released compact discs from around the world in this sonic spectacular.
1980 Virtanen organ at Turku Cathedral, Finland1980 Virtanen organ at Turku Cathedral, Finland

Seven Pieces (x 2) #0246

Famous also for his superb improvisations and exacting teaching methods, today we remember him through his compositions. This week’s show explores fourteen virtuosic and poetic movements from the pen of French wizard Marcel Dupré. We’ll hear the three Preludes & Fugues of Opus 7 that set the world afire when he was but 26, four of his Opus 50 Inventions, ironic miniatures, concise as an Oriental haiku, and the Seven Pieces which he wrote during his tours in the 1920s and dedicated to friends he made along the way. In his twenties he astonished the world with virtuosity, by his thirties he’d amazed us with his depth, and throughout his career we regarded him as the best there was. The great man himself teams up with his former students and advocates in a musical offering of Seven Pieces, times two.
1533 Colombo in the Duomo SS Corpo di Cristo, Valvasone, Italy1533 Colombo in the Duomo SS Corpo di Cristo, Valvasone, Italy

An Invitation to Dance #0245

It’s not every day that Bach’s Royal Instrument gets up and jigs, but in this week’s show the rambunctious rhythms will make very difficult for you to sit still. Whether from an Italian Renaissance chapel or a Baptist Church in Ohio, our music includes everything from Pavans to Rumbas. The music is so enlivening that two of the instruments actually play themselves. Don’t be a wallflower. Groove to Cuban rhythms, an English Bolero, a Viennese Rumba and many other exciting and exotic examples of why your ideas about the pipe organ may need updating. Put on your dancing shoes and join us on the floor!
1997 Goulding & Wood organ at Saint Meinrad’s Abbey, IN1997 Goulding & Wood organ at Saint Meinrad’s Abbey, IN

Abbey Gas #0244

This week is all about Music in Monasteries as we revel in the glorious sonorities of instruments old and new in abbey churches and convent chapels. Whether playing a Little Oboe Concerto at southern Germany, moderating a solemn mass in Provence, or celebrating new wine on the Indiana plains, these instruments resound in equal measure for prayer AND praise. Worship and the arts come together at Saint Meinrad, Indiana, Saint Maximin, Provence, and half a dozen other destinations where organ music enhances the life experience with beauty, grace and power. Hear works from four centuries as our tour bus takes us on the rounds, fueled by Abbey Gas.
1998 Casavant organ at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall1998 Casavant organ at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall

Chicago Celebration #0243

Music for organ and orchestra enjoys an added spice at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. This week we visit the recent 44-stop Casavant pipe organ to evaluate its considerable potential. Consultant Jeff Weiler talks about its varied background and why, despite a modest specification, it does everything an organ must do in a symphonic space. Soloist David Schrader plays colorful solos and teams up with the Grant Park Symphony for works by Samuel Barber, Walter Piston, Leo Sowerby and Michael Colgrass. American concert halls have come to realize that the room is not complete without the presence of the King of Instruments. Understand why and join in a Chicago Celebration: the Casavant organ at Orchestra Hall.
Organ at Basílica de la Soledad, Ciudad de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, MéxicoOrgan at Basílica de la Soledad, Ciudad de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México

Oaxacan Holiday #0242

with slideshow, interviews, restored organs of Oaxaca and more! This week we expand our sense of music’s North American history when we visit the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca to hear pipe organs from the 17th and 18th centuries. While we were barely ‘the colonies’ up north, Mexican natives directed by Spanish artisans practiced the art of organbuilding as early as fifty years following the landing of Columbus. With a refreshing and colorful spirit, instruments in the village of Tlacochahuaya, La Soledad Basilica and the Oaxaca Cathedral illuminate the stories of organists Elisa Freixo, Cristina Garcia Banegas and Roberto Fresco. This is a precious heritage, deserving our careful attention and enthusiastic support. Join us south of the border for a Oaxacan Holiday.
1996 Bond organ at Holy Rosary RCC1996 Bond organ at Holy Rosary RCC

Debuts and Dedications #0241

Bold and beautiful sounds from recently inaugurated American-built instruments will engage our ears on this week’s show. Robert Bates plays at Holy Rosary Church in Portland, and John Obetz visits with the Benedictines at Conception Abbey in Missouri. You’ll also hear instruments at West Market Street Methodist in Greensboro, North Carolina, Northridge Presbyterian in Dallas, Texas, and the Community Church in Glenview, Illinois. We’re on the road again with a cross-country sampler of recent American-built instruments, proving that this time-honored art is alive and well as practiced in our United States. Enter into the festivities and concert performances in a series of Debuts and Dedications.
1929 Skinner organ in Woolsey Hall at Yale University1929 Skinner organ in Woolsey Hall at Yale University

Autumn Leaves #0240

The colors may be noteworthy, but the lengthening of days spells a change of season. This week we’ll steady ourselves against fall, with several musical impressions of summer’s end. Clarence Mader penned an October Interlude, Joseph Bonnet wrote several Autumn Poems, and Antonio Vivaldi takes us on a fox hunt through the crisp countryside. Walt Strony and Lyn Larsen play some seasonal pops favorites, and Kurt Luedders, Cherry Rhodes and Graham Barber lead us in a pageant of color. When the short sleeved shirt gets replaced by a jacket and scarf, you know that summer is behind us and a new season awaits. Enjoy music which embraces the best of fall and join us as we reflect on the multiplicity of colors in Autumn Leaves.
1693 Schnitger organ at the Saint Jacobi Church in Hamburg1693 Schnitger organ at the Saint Jacobi Church in Hamburg

Hamburger Hotdish #0239

When you’ve got it, flaunt it. As a center for trade and diplomacy, the seventeenth-century north German port of Hamburg was one of the most prosperous independent cultural centers of Europe. As a city, it supported composers like Scheidemann, Praetorius and Reincken who, in turn, provided the foundations of a German Baroque style. This week, we sample the musical life of this cosmopolitan Hanseatic center and hear some of the music and instruments for which the city was, and remains, famous. Guy Bovet, Douglas Bush, Gustav Leonhardt and Julia Brown play upon a proud cultural tradition, and we serve up delectible samples from our Hamburger Hotdish.
1971 Danion-Gonzales organ at Chartres Cathedral, France1971 Danion-Gonzales organ at Chartres Cathedral, France

Play It Again, Sam #0238

A good tune is a joy forever, but instead of repeating the same melody over and over, why not make it different? This week’s show illustrates the art of variation. Organist, Hannes Meyer toys with a European folksong, while the late, great George Thalben-Ball takes the ferocious fiddling of Paganini and transforms it into a virtuosic dance on the organ pedals. Secular or sacred, sumptuous or sometimes just plain silly, our themes provide remarkable opportunity for creative possibilities. It’s all about the altered intent, where one good tune demands another take. By the end, even you’ll be calling out, Play it Again, Sam.
1994 Kuhn organ at Abbey Church of Saint Arnual, Saarbrücken, Germany1994 Kuhn organ at Abbey Church of Saint Arnual, Saarbrücken, Germany

Wondrous Love, Greater Love #0237

This week’s broadcast is a meditation on that ever necessary, always powerful, inscrutible yet marvelous energy we call love. The choir of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, sings of the love of God for humankind. Bach and his favored pupil Krebs lovingly decorate Lutheran hymns based on themes of loving kindness. Virgil Fox plays of love’s dream, and other composers explore the range of love as evidenced in folk songs, oratorios and operas. It is a wondrous thing, a power that transports us beyond the mundane and opens new worlds of expression and experience. From folk tunes and hymns, art song and opera, our performers draw upon upon rich resource of music to sooth the soul.