Isn’t This A “Man Bites Dog” Type of Story?

Organ Music Première Aids Church Tower Repair Fund

This story struck me as the opposite of what usually happens. Most often, money is being raised to repair, enlarge, or buy an organ. Sometimes, money is sought to pay for a new piece of music. Read this fascinating story to see the opposite approach!

“A new piece of organ music will be given its première at North Walsham church this weekend – and help raise funds for its tower repairs. David Aspinall – an organ scholar turned businessman – will give a first airing to Norfolk composer James Kenelm Clarke’s new work in three movements, The Crostwight Suite.”

The recital is at St Nicholas church on Saturday July 26 at 7pm.

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Big Schlueter Played in The Philippines

The 20-ton Iglesia Ni Cristo Pipe Organ

In Quezon City (near Manila), in the Philippines, there is a large church called Iglesia Ni Cristo which is often referred to as INC, and they have had installed a large organ that was first played on July 5.

Considered one of a kind in the country, this powerful instrument is composed of three separate pipe organs—one at the center of the temple with a main console, and two smaller ones on the side wings, with its own consoles. On its website, the A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, which made the organ, noted what was unique about the organ: “several divisions of the organ have organ chambers with contiguous openings into side chapels, which can be closed off from the main Temple to allow the organ to also be playable as two separate, albeit smaller, two-manual instruments.”

The US-based company was contracted to build the custom-made pipe organ in 2012. Taking 14 months to complete, the process is composed of many steps, from the design stage, to the actual construction, to the transportation of the pipes from the US, and finally, to the installation of the instrument.

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New Transcription of Mozart Sinfonia KV201 — Free!

New Transcription of Mozart Sinfonia KV201

I bet you know the Symphony 28 (K 201, also known as KV 201) by W A Mozart. If you are comfortable reading clefs and have the skill of a Leonard Bernstein, then you might have played it on the organ from the full score (above). Dr Walter Börner has made a new organ transcription and is offering to you for you to play. Below is a bit of background on the transcription and about Walter.

The Transcription of Mozart’s Symphony in A Major

It is well known that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was intrigued by organs and organ playing. In the towns that he spent some time in on his journeys, he enjoyed playing the local organs. However, he had no reason for writing organ compositions of his own with the exception of some works he was commissioned to compose and those that were to be included in musical boxes.

People who nevertheless would like to listen to music by Mozart played on organs need to search for those works that can be carried over to the organ and still sound good. Most of the works in question are orchestral works which do not necessarily include the grand symphonies but rather those exhibiting a character of chamber music. Symphony KV 201 in A major appears to be particularly suitable in this context. Already the theme of the first movement resembles Baroque organ music owing to its repetitions of notes and, at times, its polyphonic structure. The symphony’s further movements also sound surprisingly good played on an organ. The author found that this work is equally enjoyed by both organists and audiences. This transcription is written for two manuals and pedal. It merely requires skills at an intermediate level.

—Walter Börner

About the Transcriber

Walter Börner was born in Lobenstein, Thuringia, Germany, in 1937. He studied mathematics at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena where he went on to work as a mathematician right up to his retirement. Having played the piano since the age of ten he was thoroughly instructed in organ play after his university studies. Over the past years he gave numerous organ concerts in several parts of Germany and also accompanied performances of church music. Of his various transcriptions an edition of the Chaconne BWV 1004 was published by Dohr.

The Transcription

You may download the transcription in PDF form.

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Leonard Plays the Grand Old Lady (video)

Leonard Selva, the Pipe Organ Rescuer

Here is another story about Leonard and I promise you won’t be disappointed. First, there are ten questions and answers. Then, there is a too-brief video of Leonard playing the “Grand Old Lady.” Bach in sock feet? You can tell Leonard is relaxed and the epitome of laid back — no tension in his technique!

“On weekdays, Leonard Selva teaches music to young students but come the weekend, this 41-year-old devotes most of his time to his first love — the pipe organ. Mention the century-old pipe organ at the Church of Assumption here and Leonard’s face would light up and he would talk effusively about its rich history and the almost four-year mission he undertook to restore it to its former glory. Including the tortuous years trying to raise funds for the restoration work.”

If you want to read more about this historic organ or about Leonard, check out several of my previous posts.

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IUP’s New II/24 Brunner (video)

The Pogorzelski-Yankee Memorial Organ at IUP

Watch this very informative and very good video about a private organ that was willed and reinstalled at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The Department of Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is adding a notable instrument this summer to its already vast keyboard collection. In May 2014, the department will make way amid its 93 Steinway pianos for the Pogorzelski-Yankee Memorial Organ, valued at $400,000.

The two-manual and pedal, 24-rank tracker pipe organ will come to IUP via a special renewable lease from the American Guild of Organists. The pipe organ is a bequest to the Guild from its original owners, Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee, formerly of Bucks County, Pa.


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The Organist Is Your Neighbor: Meet Your Neighbor

Organist Reaches A Pleasant Coda

“When Joyce Knipp’s father built the woodwork surrounding the pipe organ at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lindsey in 1948, she had no idea it would be the tie that kept her staying — and playing — at the church for most of her life. Knipp, 85, wasn’t the first organist to play at the church, but she held the position the longest.”

“Earlier this year, she retired as the church organist after 50 years of service. She was born in Lindsey, grew up there, married a man from there, and never left the town or the church.”

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Let’s Learn This on a Wurlitzer

“I received it today, and it looks fantastic! I have some time on a Wurlitzer scheduled for this Saturday; might give it a try. I hope it proves to be a popular item.  Best Regards. —California, USA

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83-year-old Wurlitzer Band Organ in a 1928 Herschell Carousel

Band Organ Enthusiast Brings Festival to Olcott

To make money, Wurlitzer made a number of items in addition to their world-famous theatre organs. They made musical instruments and other kinds of organs and even colorful, flashing (gaudy) juke boxes. Among the organs they built were indeed the electronic ones you may have seen but also smaller pipe organs run by electric motors. There were band organs, military band organs, and carousel organs. They were loud and aggressive, perfect for getting the attention of the crowds! Read this story about this one at Olcott Beach, New York.

When you listen to Dan Wilke talk about band organs, you can easily recall the magic of the music accompanying carousel rides of your youth. In fact, Wilke is adamant that the two go hand-in-hand. “When young children don’t hear an operating band organ on a carousel, they’re only getting half of the experience,” he said. “A recording just doesn’t do it justice.”

To that end, Wilke keeps the 83-year-old Wurlitzer band organ that accompanies a 1928 Allan Herschell carousel at the Olcott Beach Carousel Park in tip-top shape. Wilke travels from his South Buffalo home to volunteer his time with the organ and operates the park’s carousel and Ferris wheel, as well.

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Lutherans, Muslims, Catholics, and Organs

Organ Donated by Muslims Installed at Former Seminary

I couldn’t read the nameplate, but this story shows how some religions, even today, just have no use for musical instruments. Read the story of a failing organ and the replacement provided by the Muslim congregation who have taken over a closed Lutheran Church.

His research led him to a Lutheran church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which had closed due to declining membership. A Muslim organization had bought the building and was looking to unload the organ, so it advertised it online.  “They had no need of the organ anymore and donated it to us on the condition that we would cover the removal and shipping costs, and that’s how we obtained it,” Winter said.

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What’s Doing in Odessa (video)

Odessa International Festival of Organ Music — Day 1

The long video below is way to pretend that you made the journey to the Organ Festival in Odessa, Ukraine, this year. Don’t worry if you can’t read the language; you can just enjoy the music. With all the worries they have over there, this is all the more impressive.

On May 27 — July 1, 2012, the 2nd International Organ Music Festival took place in Odessa St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Cathedral in Ukraine. Musicians from Munich (Germany), Chisinau (Moldova), Krakow (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic) and Ukrainian Kiev and Odessa performed the masterpieces of G. Schutz, J.S. Bach, M. Musorgskiy, A. Vivaldi, W.A. Mozart, K. Martinek and other composers.

The city’s only acting concert organ is situated in Odessa St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Cathedral. The weekly organ concerts have already become famous throughout the city, and over 800 citizens and guests of the city visited the concerts the last year.

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