PipeChat Digest #2939 - Friday, June 28, 2002
 
Ken Cowan at the Sanfilippo Mansion, Wednesday Evening, 6/
  by <Devon3000@aol.com>
Re: Shoe shines and key cleaning
  by <Chicaleee@aol.com>
Re: Shoe shines and key cleaning
  by <Chicaleee@aol.com>
OHS Chicago-Opening Night 6/25
  by <manderusa@earthlink.net>
 

(back) Subject: Ken Cowan at the Sanfilippo Mansion, Wednesday Evening, 6/ From: <Devon3000@aol.com> Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 23:48:16 EDT   I really regretted not being able to attend the Organ Historical Society's =   convention in my own area (Chicago). But I got an invitation from good friend Robert Ridgeway to attend both the meal in the Carousel Barn and = the concert soon after. It was great to see many old friends, and meet a few = new.   The meal was outstanding, and served efficiently and quickly. You are surrounded by some of the finest restored orchestrions and band organs in existence, and the employees of Jasper Sanfilippo kept them playing one by =   one. If you haven't been to this place, you can't expect someone to begin = to describe the settings. Absolutely wonderful, and Jasper and Marian Sanfilippo are such wonderful people also.   I got to hear Ken Cowan warming up, and heard his arrangement of The Stars =   And Stripes Forever. I have never heard anyone get all the parts, = including the countermelody in the pedals! He did it flawlessly. I was a little concerned, though, to learn this was the opening number!! Nothing like eating dessert before the meal! What really concerned me, though, was = that Ken was riding the huge console (four manuals, controlling 80 ranks) from = the basement to the music room while playing Sousa!! This lift, like most of them, is not like riding a modern elevator. It lurches and rocks enough = to really cause the performer some slight errors. Ken kept it all under control, though it was apparent that the rehearsal went easier. The = console also turns 90 degrees when at the top, which also involved another lurch = of motion. Quite a show, though!   I first heard Ken in Montreal at a previous OHS convention, and shortly thereafter brought him to Oak Brook for a concert at Christ Church. After =   one of his practice sessions I took him to Barrington to meet Robert Ridgeway, and the rest is history. After the Sousa, he launched into = Rondo Capriccio (a study in accents) by Lemare. It really showed how fast those =   swell shades (individual motors) can move.   By this time, the audience was beginning to really warm to the organ and = Ken. I have never heard a program there with so little tremolos! And it was wonderful. All the subtle colors and contrasts were brought out more = clearly than I had ever heard.   He next did the Nocturne and Scherzo from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer = Night's Dream" Gorgeous sounds and unbelievable technique. Next was one of many "blockbusters," the Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue by Healey Willan. = Of course, the two (count them, two)! en chemades were used at appropriate places. That organ can border on pain for the ears, and Ken brought us = close to it, but it was so much fun, even if our ears were ringing. The big = tubas (right down to 32')! in the main organ really brought out the wonderful = chord progressions, and the 32' strings were heard often, as well as many other string ranks, the closest thing to the Wanamaker sound in this area.   During intermission, several orchestrions and pianos played, so there was continuous music. People had time to wander downstairs through the = hundreds of old phonographs and nickelodeons and steam engines that inhabit that place. Definitely worth a trip of you are visiting Chicago.   After intermission, the Prelude to "Hansel and Gretel" was a welcome = relief in volume, though it had some great climaxes also.   Then, we sang a hymn. Well, we tried. Ken sure had fun and at times I couldn't hear any voices, but the crowd (300+) was not to be outdone, and came soaring over the organ on many phrases. They really had to exercise their lungs, though. All fun again.   Then two selections by Saint-Saens, "My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice" and = "Danse Macabre," Cowan arrangements. He had at his disposal a giant set of = Deagan Tower chimes, which set the mood for an incredible display of talent and music.   The finale was 'Overture to Oberon' by Weber, arr. Cowan. Brought the = house down!! Three curtain calls, an encore, an etude he transcribed, = absolutely blew us all away. Many more curtain calls, and the buses had to leave. My =   only regret was that he didn't do "Ride of the Valkyries." I heard him do = it when I took him there before! Oh well, can't have everything in one = program! People had just enough time to explore a few minutes, including access to =   all the 4 or 5 levels of chambers of pipes. You have never seen such immaculate pipe chambers! I'm sure conventioneers are still talking about =   last evening, and I even got to meet Ken's father and visit with him = awhile. You can see where Ken gets his gentle spirit and approachable personality. = Having also talked to his brother before he went with the "big agent," you =   can tell it's a great family.   As someone has said many times, we're witnessing some of the all-time = great organists right here in our time! What exciting years ahead for these = young artists! And what wonderful people the Sanfilippos are to open their home/museum so often to the organ world, as well as the world at large.   Also in attendance at this concert were organ builders James Gruber, Dean Christiansen, and Patrick Murphy. I also saw Judy Okillala (how do you = spell that") walk by, but intermission just ended, and I didn't get to talk to = her before she left. Saw several other listers too. Theatre organist Ron = Rhode was also there, finishing up a recording project this week. Lyn Larson = also was there. James Stemke had just completed replacing over 5,000 magnet = caps and armatures in the organ. I'm sure he was nervous, but there was not a glitch in the concert.   I'm looking forward to attending Monday night's concert on the huge = Kimball at the Baptist Church in Chicago. I last heard it when only less than = half of the expression motors worked. I thought then that it was a "killer" sound. Now that it has been extensively repaired and cleaned up, I can't imagine it'll not be a night to remember also.   We're almost finished at Christ Church connecting the new Allen console to =   the 80 ranks of Austin pipes. Next week, we add the 40 digital voices. = The console is a dream. Over fifty generals, 20 memories, a dream for service =   work.   Devon Hollingsworth Now the Organist only, at Christ Church of Oak Brook, Illinois.  
(back) Subject: Re: Shoe shines and key cleaning From: <Chicaleee@aol.com> Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 00:40:41 EDT     --part1_ca.db059a3.2a4d42c9_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   I shine my own shoes, make my own coffee, and keep the keys to the organ = hid (they don't need shined). I don't mind others practicing on the organ, I just want to be informed so I can lock the presets. (as well as being = there if they are a beginner). I wish more young people were interested in the organ. I want to have an organ conference, or something like that, to = show off the instrument. Maybe even do a recital. Even the University doesn't offer organ lessons, although the piano professor is an accomplished = organist with many published compositions. I did some very bad playing there while = I was recovering from my illnesses, and I have to "prove" myself again. However, many people, the ones that count, have faith in my playing. No = more rambling. Lee   --part1_ca.db059a3.2a4d42c9_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>I shine my own shoes, = make my own coffee, and keep the keys to the organ hid (they don't need = shined). &nbsp;I don't mind others practicing on the organ, I just want to = be informed so I can lock the presets. &nbsp;(as well as being there if = they are a beginner). &nbsp;I wish more young people were interested in = the organ. &nbsp;I want to have an organ conference, or something like = that, to show off the instrument. &nbsp;Maybe even do a recital. Even the = University doesn't offer organ lessons, although the piano professor is an = accomplished organist with many published compositions. &nbsp;I did some = very bad playing there while I was recovering from my illnesses, and I = have to "prove" myself again. &nbsp;However, many people, the ones that = count, have faith in my playing. &nbsp;No more rambling. = &nbsp;Lee</FONT></HTML>   --part1_ca.db059a3.2a4d42c9_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: Shoe shines and key cleaning From: <Chicaleee@aol.com> Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 01:23:53 EDT     --part1_183.a45f4bf.2a4d4ce9_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   I know, I give crazy, simplistic posts. I am really a serious church musician. I would be interested in a list of organ repertoire that is a "must" for you. Lee   --part1_183.a45f4bf.2a4d4ce9_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>I know, I give crazy, = simplistic posts. &nbsp;I am really a serious church musician. I would be = interested in a list of organ repertoire that is a "must" for you. = &nbsp;Lee</FONT></HTML>   --part1_183.a45f4bf.2a4d4ce9_boundary--  
(back) Subject: OHS Chicago-Opening Night 6/25 From: <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 22:50:41 -0700   Dear Lists and Friends,   I have no doubt that, amongst those who plan programs for an Organ = Historical Society Convention, thought is given to finding an opening concert with considerable impact, hopefully setting the tone for the week ahead. They certainly got it right this time =96 Organ, Performer, Program =96 All = three! We heard Hook & Hastings Opus 794, a large three-manual instrument in The Scottish Rite Cathedral, played by its regular organist, William = Aylesworth. Mr. Aylesworth has studied with Robert Glasgow, Searle Wright, Karel = Paukert, and Grigg Fountain. He is Director of Music at St. John=92s Lutheran = Church of Wilmette, IL, as well as at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The great barn of = a building began life as a Unitarian church, and its history and that of the organ are intertwined in various ways, including meeting the great = leveler, the Chicago Great Fire of 1871. The present instrument, of 1875, is a true marvel. More about that as we work our way through the program. As anyone who has ever attended an OHS convention, or has read these = reports in the past will know, every concert includes the singing of a hymn, = usually chosen by the artist, and always a cause for comment, because of the = beauty of the singing of this large and musical group. A special convention hymnal = is produced, often providing full harmony. Well, when was the last time you = got to stand and sing all three stanzas of The Star Spangled Banner in full harmony? That=92s how several hundred of us began this convention, and = given what this country has gone through, and might yet go through, and given = that July 4th is just around the corner =96 well, you have never heard anything = quite like this roof-lifting experience. My pal, Judy Olikkalla, had brought a = flag along, and waved it vigorously throughout. Add to all that, the sound of = this magnificent example of 19th Century American Organbuilding at its best, = with its huge and powerful basses, and perhaps you can get the picture!   The program began with the familiar William Boyce Voluntary No. 1 in D. The tonal palette is at a somewhat lower tonal level than is often the = case with organs of the present century. This is not, in fact, a = disappointment. It is, if anything, quite refreshing, and everything speaks completely = clearly from the high gallery. =93Elegant=94 is the proper word for describing = both the sonic experience and also Mr. Aylesworth=92s playing of this work and the = music that followed.   Next, Two Noels of Nicolas LeBegue: 1. Laissez pestres vos bestes gave us a chance to hear the splendid = Clarinet of the Solo Division, and 2. Joseph est bien marie was a showcase for a ravishing 4=92 Flute. I = don=92t know which one =96 there are three possibilities!   Cantabile (1878) is the first Franck work I was allowed to play. My love = of it is forever! Before playing it, Mr. Aylesworth gave us a little coupler = talk, on the fact that, when Franck calls for the solo Trompette and Oboe to be coupled to the accompanying manual, because the accompanying manual is = already coupled to the Pedal, the reeds are coupled through to the Pedal also, willy-nilly, a fact, he suggests, often lost on those who are not blessed = with playing tracker organs! From our gang, that drew at least a knowing = chuckle or two. The Trompette with Oboe, a sound to remember, as is the case with the wonderfully rich =93Fonds,=94 these sounds in the service of such = wonderfully sensitive playing.   Clement Loret (1833-1909) =96 Student of Lemmens, taught Gigout. One of 7 organists who played the dedication of Notre Dame in 1868, playing a Bach fugue =96 we don=92t know which one. Marche Funebre is, in the words of = the performer, a rather "Camp" piece, with lots of use of the Vox (which we = were told Widor disliked). This is rather like very pleasant Salon music. It = calls for an Orage, or Thunder Pedal. The organ lacks one, and Mr. Aylesworth attempted to simulate the effect, with mixed success.   Johann Georg Albrechtsberger =96 (1736-1809) Praeludium und Fuge fur Orgel = zu vier Haenden (with Dr. James Wyly) This is a bright and wonderful piece, made all the more pleasant by the added texture of the richness of four hands.   Intermission   Widor - Symphonie No. 2 (Opus 13, No. 2, published 1 year before the organ = was built.) 1. Praeludium Circulaire - those gorgeous =93Fonds=94 again. 2. Pastorale - more of a scherzo - with the wonderful Oboe. - totally charming! 3. Andante - beautiful Flutes, including a particularly gorgeous Harmonic Flute. 4. Salve Regina - How grand this is, built on fragments of the Plainsong. 5. Adagio - 8 & 4 strings (in lieu of a Celeste) with Harmonic Flute = solos. 6. Finale - Allegro =96 This is a movement often played on its own. I = know I have heard it many times, and don=92t believe I have ever heard any other = parts of this fascinating work.   An Encore was clearly wanted, for which we heard a movement from the Widor Symphonie N. 3, a movement which Mr. Aylesworth said he had had an = opportunity to play at St. Sulpice, a life changing event!   What a magnificent opening to the 47th convention of the Organ Historical Society, in Chicago! A truly beautiful 1875 (post-Chicago Fire) Hook & Hastings instrument, played by a man who knows it best, and who also well understands the French Romantic repertoire that so suits this organ. And = so to bed. The buses leave the hotel at 8:15 tomorrow morning!   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com