1929 Skinner organ at Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut1929 Skinner organ at Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

An Organist’s Yearbook #0353

Ours is a pilgrim’s progress of sorts, traversing a year in retrospect and looking into the future. Join us as we take measure of the year 2003 and celebrate the art of the organ and its practitioners the builders, players and composers whose lives contribute so much to our experiences each week. We’ll play some recent compact discs, share shapshots of a trip to Italy, honor the memories of those who have passed to their rewards, and prognosticate a bit about what might come along in 2004.
1783 de Rijckere organ at Oostkerk, Middelburg, The Netherlands1783 de Rijckere organ at Oostkerk, Middelburg, The Netherlands

For Unto Us #0352

The Christmas image of a newborn babe brought into a cold world conjures sentiments of joy and astonishment. So it’s not entirely surprising that the music on this week’s program does the same. We celebrate the season with trumpets and choirs, as well as organs both in solo and duet performances. Join in and sing along with familiar old tunes and embrace some new music, too, heralding the good news of the Nativity. For Unto Us: a holiday for heart and ears.
1755 Clicquot organ at the Église Saint-Roch, Paris, France1755 Clicquot organ at the Église Saint-Roch, Paris, France

Holiday International #0351

Some pieces were intended for intimate living-room spaces, while others have enthralled crowds in great cathedrals. This week, we travel the world in search of seasonal treats. Christmas is coming, and we will dance and sing while listening to the Memphis Chamber Choir and a host of organ soloists from Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the United States, as each contribute sonic surprises of many sorts. Come along as we celebrate a Holiday International.
1981 Holtkamp organ, Opus 1965, at Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, MN.1981 Holtkamp organ, Opus 1965, at Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, MN.

Sing, Beloved #0350

Whether it’s a wakening call, a Brazilian sleighride or a gentle lullaby, this week we’ll serenade the spirit of the holiday season with a fanciful collection of familiar carols. From the pen of Leroy Anderson or Julien Zbinden, both choirs and instruments are combined into one harmonious message which speaks of peace on earth. Our seasonal offering sounds the wake-up call and makes plans to be home for the holidays, as we listen to musicians raise their voices in praise at Christmas time. Join with them as they Sing, Beloved.
1998 Glatter-Götz, Rosales organ at the United Church of Christ, Claremont, CA1998 Glatter-Götz, Rosales organ at the United Church of Christ, Claremont, CA

The American Muse #0349

Rather than fugues and canzonas, try a Pastorale Dance or a March with trumpet. On this week’s show, we temper European tradition with the iconoclastic visions of some composers here at in the U.S. Lukas Foss writes a celebratory choral work for a new church, Lee Hoiby sketches impressions of his California homeland, and Daniel Gawthrop has us kicking up our heals in rhythmic response. Beyond toccatas and tientos, we bring our focus closer to home and celebrate The American Muse.
1993 C.B. Fisk organ in the Caruth Auditorium at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX1993 C.B. Fisk organ in the Caruth Auditorium at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

From the Dallas Competition #0347

With more than $50,000 in prize-money, the Dallas International Organ Competition attracts top-grade talent. This week, we’ll listen to three superb finalists, each with musicianship worthy of international exposure. Jeremy Bruns hails from Muleshoe, Texas, but now directs the music program at All Saints Church-Ashmont near Boston. Sarah Baldock, from England, is the assistant at Winchester Cathedral and is also on the Calgary Academy Faculty in Canada. Bradley Hunter Welch is the organist at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas. On the Fisk organs at Southern Methodist Unversity and the Meyerson Symphony Center they perform pieces from the French repertoire, plus works by Reger, Bolcom and Bach. Enjoy young artists in award-winning performances From the Dallas Competition.
1981 Eisenbarth great organ at Passau Cathedral, Germany1981 Eisenbarth great organ at Passau Cathedral, Germany

Going On Record #0346

What do a city auditorium in New Zealand, an historic church of in Manila, a Scandinavian university science project and the Tennessee Valley Arts Commission have in common? Each celebrates the art of the organ. This week we’ll savor performances from Christchurch Town Hall, the parish of Las Pinas in the Philippines, the Hamburg Baroque Organ Project of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Unitarian Church in Knoxville where pipe organs, old and new, excite the imagination with ear-intriguing sounds. The proof is in the playing. Enjoy some sonically beguiling CD releases while we’re Going On Record with organ music in review.
1914 Aeolian organ at the Frick Museum, New York, NY1914 Aeolian organ at the Frick Museum, New York, NY

Museum Pieces #0345

Some folks think of the pipe organ as a musty antique that is old fashioned and out of the mainstream. I don’t agree, but just to confuse the issue, we’ll listen to four instruments that live in museums, at the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, the Nethercutt Collection, San Sylmar in Los Angeles, and the Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati. Don’t be misled. These pipe organs provide provocative harmonies in picturesque settings. Creating their own attractive, interactive displays these are true Museum Pieces.
Peter Richard ContePeter Richard Conte

Peter Richard Conteand the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ #0344

With six keyboards, four hundred stops, and more than 28,000 pipes, this organ offers a universe of opportunity. This week, we visit with the man who takes advantage of that opportunity virtually business day. You can hear it whenever the building’s open, but rather than buy a ticket to Philadelphia, why not join us for music of every sort, from Mussorgsky’s portrait of a Night on Bald Mountain to excerpts from a Wagner operas. Who needs singers, when the world’s largest musical instrument is under your control? From Leonard Bernstein to sonic blockbusters, we’re stopping at the Lord & Taylor department store in Philadelphia. You’ve never heard anything like Peter Richard Conte and the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.

Rorem on Rorem

…we celebrate composer Ned Rorem with performances of his music in anticipation of his 85th birthday. On this week’s show, we visit with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ned Rorem and celebrate the remarkable and envigorating repertoire that he has composed for organists and choirs. Is it strange that an agnostic son of Quaker parents should write so compellingly for the church or is everything under the sun just a concert celebrating creativity? Insights from the artist with his art, it’s Rorem on Rorem.
John Scott John Scott

Scott Free #0342

One of London’s historic landmarks, Saint Paul’s Cathedral is the masterpiece of architect Christopher Wren. It’s also the musical home of John Scott, who began his work there nearly a quarter century ago just out of university. Starting out at Saint Paul’s as Associate Organist, he was appointed Organist and Director of Music in 1990. John talks about his experiences, leads the choir, plays the cathedral’s mighty instrument, and discusses his adventures as a touring recitalist. Come along as we visit Saint Peter Mancroft in Norwich and the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola in New York City. Experience an amiable and able artist, John Scott Scott Free.

Paulus, Phillips and Proulx

…Usually three ‘p’s mean pianissimo, but this program resounds with an exultant trio of exciting modern works for organ and instruments, one of them a premiere. This week’s broadcast features new music for organ and instruments. Starting with Richard Proulx’s Concerto for Organ and Strings, we’ll hear its premiere played by Jonathan Biggers, in concert at Saint Olaf Roman Catholic Church in Minneapolis. A multi-functional Suite for Organ, Brass and Percussion by California composer Craig Phillips and the increasingly popular Concerto Number 1 by Stephen Paulus have added to the compelling concert repertoire for the King of Instruments. Three ‘p’s usually mean pianissimo, but now they stand for a pair of fine concertos with orchestra and a marvelous suite with brass and percussion. They are colorful contemporary works for organ plus by Paulus, Philips and Proulx.
1999 Casavant organ at Incarnation Lutheran Church, Shoreview, MN1999 Casavant organ at Incarnation Lutheran Church, Shoreview, MN

Tracker Backers #0339

For hundreds of years, the pipe organ was played by mechanical action, with a direct and tangible link called a tracker between keyboard and wind chest. Late in the 19th century, electricity entered the scene and took over the roost for the better part of half a century. Electrity still is with us and has its place, but on this week’s show we return to tradition and review some recent instruments from across the country. Each organ was built with that tried and true mechanical linkage that works well in antique repertoire, of course, but also in romantic and contemporary works, too. Whether in a 19th century Bolero, a 20th century partita, or an 18th century concerto, modern mechanical action pipe organs maintain a time-honored tradition. With instruments in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Shoreview, Minnesota and Tacoma, Washington, we salute history and celebrate tomorrow in the company of our friends, the Tracker Backers.
1927 Wurlitzer organ in the Sanfilippo Music Room, Barrington, IL1927 Wurlitzer organ in the Sanfilippo Music Room, Barrington, IL

The Organ at Home #0338

One problem a few lucky organists don’t have to deal with is knowing where they’re going to practice. This week, we go to the homes of several fortunate organists and organ lovers to experience the instruments that they have had installed. While some are modest and have only a few stops, others are as big as a house and even play themselves. Each providing incredible enjoyment to all who listen. Whether in an English manor room, a musician’s private studio, or the parlor of a successful American businesman, our music comes from neither church nor concert hall. These are pipe dreams come true. Has the King of Instruments been domesticated? Find out, as we visit The Organ at Home.
Frederick SwannFrederick Swann

Swann Song #0337

After sixty years as a church musician, Frederick Swann is hanging up his organ shoes. We celebrate his art as he reminisces about his life experiences. He came to prominence first as organist at the Riverside Church in New York City. This week, we’ll review the remarkable career of Frederick Swann, one of the most highly regarded American organists, as he reflects on his sixty-year career in the spotlight. In music by Franck and Farnam, Clarence Dickinson and some of his own compositions, we’ll hear Fred at Riverside, the Crystal Cathedral and First Congregational Church, Los Angeles, all churches with pipe organs of more than 200 stops each. Even as a kid he knew what he wanted to do, and has done it masterfully a life fully lived Frederick Swann. Tune in for his Swann Song, with every verse an adventure.
1927 Casavant Frères; 2001 Schantz organ at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, MN.1927 Casavant Frères; 2001 Schantz organ at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, MN.

Saved by Grace #0336

The organist of Notre Dame Cathedral played its inaugural recital back in 1927 but that wasn’t enough to guarantee this instrument a long and happy life. At least not in its original location. Forlorn and nearly forgotten in storage for 16 years, this vintage Casavant organ with 7000 pipes has been reborn as the musical centerpiece of a new church sanctuary in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. Bill Chouinard, the prime mover behind its renewal at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran, tells the story and demonstrates the instrument’s remarkable range of color and dynamics in selections from Bach to Broadway. Once a mute memory, these grand sounds were Saved By Grace.