PipeChat Digest #429 - Saturday, June 27, 1998
 
OHS Denver - Day 6 - X Posted
  by <ManderUSA@aol.com>
 


(back) Subject: OHS Denver - Day 6 - X Posted From: <ManderUSA@aol.com> Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 04:16:49 EDT   Friday, June 26, 1998   What a beginning!! In a not terribly prosperous neighborhood, we walk into a church of great beauty, built by German immigrants - Annunciation Roman Catholic Church. The windows are thought to all be from Munich. As a fan of the Father Dowling Mysteries on TV, I was delighted to learn that this is the very church used in these wonderful programs!! The irrepressible James Mosby Bratton gave us a fabulous musical start to our second last day. We had previously heard him on the Vocalion. Today, we took a great step up in the reed organ hierarchy, and heard his own 1887 instrument by Victor Mustel, of Paris. The sound, brilliant, somewhat steely, and perfectly adequate for the large-ish building we were in, is quite different from American harmonia some of us have known. It was placed down front, against the south wall. It would be somewhat underpowered for leading hearty hymn singing, but wonderful for lots of repertoire. Jim began with a really powerful and passionate performance of the Allegro assai from the Guilmant 4th Sonata. After being rewarded with thunderous applause, he gathered some friends around him - a 'Cellist and a Harpist - and they gave us a beautiful performance of the ravishing Nocturne in E flat, Opus 21 for 'Cello, Harmonium and Harp, by Marcel Fournier (1879-1951). Then, Harmonium alone in Introduction and Fugue in D Minor, opus 62 by Franz Lachner (1803-1890), and last, with a pianist, Finale, Opus 8, No. 6 (for Harmonium, four hands) by Camille Saint-Saens, great fun, with a pianist who was able to balance well with the somewhat gentler Harmonium. The information given about the Mustel was not in layman's language - I haven't and idea what any of it means, or I would gladly tell you. In any case, this was a lovely concert.   Once the microphones were moved back, in position for the organ in the balcony, Robert Barney took over, leading us in singing Lobe' den Herren, aided by a trumpet player in a long introduction, in interludes, and in some verses of the hymn. The rest of the program: Karg-Elert - Lobe' den Herren, Opus 65, rather a perfect piece for demonstrating the virtues of the organ, beautifully and clearly played. Mozart - the Andante, K. 616 Charles Zeuner (1795-1857) - Fugue No. 14, just about as pallid as its name! Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) - the wonderful Prelude and Fugue in D, which I have known and loved for years, from a recording by Anne Page.   The organ is a 1910 Kilgen of 20 stops, much of which is really lovely and full, with only the full ensemble seeming a bit unblending.   I think I lack the Purvis Gene. I have never appreciated the style and idiom of a lot of his music, although I did like some of the Christmas pieces that Kenneth Matthews played earlier in the week. I have mused about this a bit, particularly in regard to George Bozeman's program at the Chapel of Our Most Merciful Saviour, Episcopal (yes, it is spelled with a U!). I have, in my wisdom, decided that you had to have been there, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, that is - to have known the man, and heard the pieces in the context of a service, on that organ, and in that acoustic. He had to have been a remarkable person, as the people I know, and it is not a few, who had contact with him as students, choristers, or just listeners and friends, are immensely loyal to his music and his memory. Or maybe it is genetic after all. Some of the pieces in today's program required chimes, and George brought along his trusty synthesizer, which I heard and hated in Round Lake last summer, and did not grow to love any more today. (To think that I even helped him carry it upstairs at the beginning of the convention!) Having got all that out of my system, let me say that George played wonderfully well, as always, and I did really find lots to like in some of the pieces. The program:   HYMN: Once to every man and nation (Ton-Y-Botel or Ebenezer) Seven Chorale Preludes on Tunes found in American Hymnals: Fantasy on Ton-y-Botel (dedicated to Ruth Barrett Arno Pastorale on Forest Green (to George Henninger) Canzona on Liebster Jesu (to Frederic Freeman) Grand Choeur on Austria (to Porter Heaps) Contemplation on Tallis' Canon (to Alma Morse) Poeme Mystique on Manna Mercy (to Sally Harris) Toccata Festiva on In Babilone (to Clarence Snyder) The organ is by Farrand and Votey, Opus 88, 1890, of two manuals and 17-stops. Not possessed of great power, there are individual stops and combinations of beauty, and its decorated case pipes are wonderful to look at.   We next visited the Lotus in the Flame Temple, Denver Zen Center, a building which was formerly the Fourth Church of Christ Scientist. The members of the center were in a retreat when we arrived, one involving silence, so while we were able to talk, once in the church auditorium, and obviously make music, we were asked to enter the building in complete silence. Given our usually voluble nature, our success at this was all the more remarkable. The organ is a 1925 Austin, Opus 1233, of four manual divisions (Swell, Great, Choir, Echo and Pedal) over only 20 stops. Everything on the choir is from the Great, except a celesting rank. There is only one Pedal stop not borrowed. The highest pitched stop on the organ is one 2' on the Swell, and that is an extension, and is only a Flautino. Not an instrument of great brilliance or power! Thomas Brown, who played so wonderfully earlier in the week, gave us four completely brilliant improvisations on familiar hymn tunes: A sonata- allegro form on Salve festa dies; a Rondo (Scherzo) on Puer Nobis; Free form on Eventide; and Fugue and Finale on Salzburg.   Thomas Murray then stepped to the podium, to deliver a truly fascinating lecture entitled "Recording the Organ: The First Ten Years (1926-1936)." We heard almost 30 short examples, recorded onto tape from Tom's extensive collection of 78s, accompanied with lots of interesting commentary and also some slides. I took extensive notes, and will write about this talk while on our rather long bus ride tomorrow, as the hour now is late.   Next to Messiah Baptist Church, to hear Mary Gifford play the following program: HYMN: When the roll is called up yonder (Roll Call). We really shouted it out! Roy Spaulding Stoughton (1884-1953) - The Courts of Jamshyd, from Persian Suite, a very Persian-sounding little fantasy - lots of fun. Edward d'Evry (1869-1950) - Nocturnette Daniel E. Gawthrop (b. 1949) - Passacaglia, from Sketch Book 1 for Organ, a kind of Quodlibet, using all kinds of familiar tunes over the Passacaglia bass, some eliciting much giggling. Those in the Washington DC area know Dan as the voice of classical music, on WETA, the NPR station there. As for the organ, it is a gutsy little thing, despite having only one 4' stop, the Orchestral Flute on the Swell. The scaling and voicing are such that there is real power and brightness, despite the way it looks on paper. Mary Gifford commented about the Open Diapason that "parts the Red Sea!" The organ is two manuals, with just eight stops, Kimball (1914). Rick Morel, who services and has built a number of organs in the area, got the roll player working for this organ, and we heard two rather fun organ rolls, produced by Jonathan Ambrosino.   Next, to All Saints Roman Catholic Church, a large, modern structure with a quite small Hook and Hastings, Opus 1702, 1896 way back in a very deep balcony. Lovely as it might be close up, sitting downstairs, it is insufficient for the singing of hymns - you simply cannot hear it. Nor did it have much oomph in the recital. Joseph Adam, organist of St. James Cathedral, Seattle, played the following program: Hector Berlioz - Marche Hongroise (Damnation of Faust). Saint-Saens - Improvisation in A Major Louis Vierne - the Scherzo from Symphony No. 1, Opus 14 Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900) - Orgel Fantasy on Nun danket, alle, Gott. HYMN: Now thank we all our God!   By this time, we were getting a bit behind schedule, and were due for a short break back at the hotel, before going to dinner and the recital. All 250+ of us arrived back at the hotel, waited too long for elevators, only to get to our rooms and discover that our plastic card "keys" would not work. Whatever the system is, it cleans out your keys after six days, and they need to be reactivated. Of course, no one had been told this, so there were some very unhappy people at the check-in desk.   Next stop, Trinity United Methodist Church, where we were fed dinner, and then heard the splendid Peter Sykes. The organ is by Frank Roosevelt, No. 380, 1888, a wonderful and very large instrument of 65 stops, housed in a case that is a huge fantasy in beautiful wood, designed by George Ashdown Audsley!! The Pastor of the church accepted an OHS Plaque from Mary Gifford, who announced that this was the church she grew up in - so the presentation was particularly important to her. The program: Franck - Choral no. 1 in E Major Percy Whitlock - Three Extemporization Whitlock - Carol (Homage to Frederick Delius) Divertimento Fidelis Leos Janacek - The Organ Solo from the Glagolitic Mass Reger - Benedictus Julius Reubke - Sonata on the 94th Psalm HYMN: God of Height and Depth and Sweep, to the tune "Shoemaker," composed by Peter Sykes! What an evening!! A recital by Peter Sykes is always a great event, and this was no exception. I think the most thrilling piece on the progam for me was the Reubke Sonata - truly brilliant. And so, we end as we began, with a fabulous musical event - although we are not completely finished. Tomorrow morning, there are two more organ recitals by David S. Macfarlane and then a tour of Rocky Mountain National Park.   Malcolm Wechsler