1845 Cavaillé-Coll organ at La Madeleine, Paris, France

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Programs that feature this organ

#0023: This is the Day

It’s all so familiar but also the beginning of an uncharted adventure. This week’s Pipedreams program explores wedding music in its broader implications. We’ll have traditional processionals, historic works in celebration of a joy-filled day, exotic pieces from Finland and the Czech Republic songs and ballads about true, perfect and wondrous love, an anthem about an amiable dwelling place, and even a warning lest fools rush in. For June brides or newlyweds at any time of the year, it’s music which proclaims This is the Day.

#0109: March Forth!

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.

#0117: Franckly Unexpected

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.

#0217: King Widor

He was the big cheese in the French organ world of one hundred years ago, and on our next Pipedreams broadcast we celebrate his legacy with a composite performance of his most famous work. Although he wrote 10 solo organ symphonies, his Number V has always been the most popular, because of its famous concluding Toccata. We’ll hear the entire work, each movement played by a different soloist on a different instrument, plus another symphony, for organ and orchestra, a rare gem presented in concert at the American guild of Organists Convention in Atlanta. Hear the lavish and lovely compositions of Charles-Marie Widor a toast to King Widor this week on Pipedreams.

#0246: Seven Pieces (x 2)

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.

#2044: One on One

Grandeur and majesty. Passion and poetry. These are the elements of a new musical style that evolved in Paris in the latter 19th-century which revolutionized the art of the organ. On our next Pipedreams broadcast, we’ll hear two ‘firsts’ - two symphonic works for solo organ by Charles-Marie Widor and his pupil and, ultimately, competitor, Louis Vierne. Inspired by the sonorities of the lavish new instruments designed by master organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, both Widor, who was the first to call a composition an organ symphony, and Vierne created musical masterpieces that are both a challenge to play and a joy to hear.