Wrigley to Nelson: No Organ Music on the Radio

April 1941: Cubs Are First MLB Team to Have Organ Music

Bravo to the Chicago Tribune for re-printing an article from our past. How interesting that of prime interest was stopping the organ music before going on the air to avoid paying ASCAP because of their agreement with BMI. Don’t you love the part about stilling the bellows!

Ray Nelson, who on Saturday unveiled his pipe organ behind the grandstand screen at Wrigley field, was at his keyboard again yesterday, playing a concert to the delight of those of the 18,678 fans who arrived before 2:30 o’clock.

Mr. Nelson was obliged to still his bellows at 2:30 because his repertoire includes many restricted ASCAP arias, which would have been picked up by the radio microphones hooked up a half hour before game time.

It would be fun to know details of this organ from 1941, but I cannot find anything on it. Please post if you know about it.

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Daniel Hyde Appointed at St Thomas Church

New Director of Music Appointed

Read about the recently appointed organist and director at St Thomas Church, New York City, Daniel Hyde. Their tradition in this country is unparalleled; prior to the late John Scott was Gerre Hancock. Prof Hyde has large shoes to fill.

Daniel Hyde is Informator Choristarum, Organist, and Tutorial Fellow in Music at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is also a University Lecturer in the Faculty of Music. A former chorister and organ scholar of Durham Cathedral, Daniel was Assistant Organist at Perth Cathedral, Western Australia, before taking up the organ scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge. Upon graduation from King’s with First Class Honors in Music, Daniel was appointed as Director of Music at Jesus College, Cambridge. During his time there, he was responsible for overseeing the development of the College’s two choirs and for the design and installation of a new organ in the chapel.

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Hammond Street Congregational’s New Organ

Organ Brings Joy to Hammond St Congregational Church

Micky Bedell offers these details before you watch the television news report in the link above. Bangor, Maine: Organ restorer A. David Moore (left) tests the note of an organ pipe for St. John Catholic Church music director Kevin Birch (right). Birch aided the Hammond Street Congregational Church’s years-long quest to restore their pipe organ by directing them toward an organ in Boston. “There are so many stories of heartbreak that people regretted what they lost,”  Birch said. “This is one of those very rare situations where they were able to recover some continuity from what had been a very beautiful situation.”

I’ve seen this particular line so often, and it never fails to bring a smile. “In the 1960s, the church replaced its old pipe organ with an electric organ.”

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Rare Gem of A Transcription

Thanks, Michael! I heard Tom Murray play this one at Woolsey and was quite taken with it. Playing the Sarabande to seat the mothers at my brother’s upcoming wedding. Thanks so much for having this rare gem of a transcription! —Connecticut, USA

For those interested, here is the link to Richard Ellsasser’s transcription of From Holberg’s Time by Grieg. In addition, on this page I offer the original piano music for free.

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Still the King

The Pipe Organ is Still the King of Instruments

This essay in the Los Angeles Times warms my heart, and I suspect that it will warm yours as well. Although Mark Swed’s focus is southern California, his points should be recognizable to us all.

The organ — whether concert hall or church variety — has long shown signs of becoming an endangered species. Churches have been dumping their instruments for years, and for a while the organ became so unfashionable in concert halls that venues such as Royce Hall at UCLA and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York went out of their way to hide fine organs from view. Organ recitals are not plentiful. Electric keyboards are more to the liking of most young composers and have been for a half-century.

But don’t write off the king of instruments as a dinosaur just yet. A pair of very different recent organ recitals proved encouraging reminders that a great pipe organ’s immersive grandeur and vast color palette when heard in a winning space is a uniquely physical sonic experience that electronics in our age of virtual reality can’t come close to replicating.

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Fourth Pres Organ — Chicago’s Largest

Meet the Man Reconstructing Chicago’s Largest Pipe Organ

I don’t know what I think about this. The venerable Ernest Skinner at Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago has repeatedly been the victim of “affluenza.” This congregation is incredibly wealthy and has been convinced to mess with their treasure several times. It was E M Skinner’s Opus 210. Aeolian-Skinner rebuilt it, then Goulding & Wood, and now some young person who was computer programmer who now calls himself an organ builder gets his try at it. See the OHS Database for details: Aeolian-Skinner and Goulding & Wood. See the church’s page about the organ. Now, it’s five manuals with red lights; that should make it better. By the way, don’t expect much from this television news report; the anchors make a nice comment at the end about remembering the sound of an organ from childhood. Sigh.

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Cromorne Was Like A Turbocharged Clarinet

Latry Brilliantly Shows Off Sounds of the Meyerson Organ

Read this interesting commentary and review of Olivier Latry’s concert on the big Fisk in the Meyerson Center in Dallas, Texas. I have heard from some that they feel Scott Cantrell does a disservice to organists and organ music. I, personally, love his firm point of view! The job of a critic is not simply to sing the praises of a performer, an instrument, or a composer. The real critic writes to convey information and opinion, a reflection — his reflection — of what was heard, and adds much else to create an interesting and informative article. As you can see from the headline of this post, I found something I didn’t expect, and I believe you will, too.

After long neglect, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra revived an organ-recital series last season. On Sunday afternoon, the series presented Olivier Latry, one of the organists of Notre-Dame in Paris and one of the foremost concert organists on today’s circuit.

French organ music, to which Latry’s program was devoted, is sound-specific; composers specify stops and combinations in their scores. The Meyerson Fisk will never be taken for a French organ, but Latry gave the audience an extensive display of its timbres and effects.

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A+ to Your Service and Product

The Dudley Buck march arrived. I am impressed with its getting here so soon, and at such a low price. The paper is of high quality; that, the size of the notes and the ink combine to make an easily readable score. I’d give an A+ to your service and product. Many thanks. —Florida, USA

For those interested, here is the link to the Dudley Buck Triumphal March.

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Carson Cooman Interview

Composer Carson Cooman (Interview)

Here is a fascinating interview with Carson by Christian Carey on Sequenza21.com. The level of the questions is far above most interviews with composers. It’s worth the reading.

Here’s a sample:

Sequenz21: Your Fourth Symphony is about climate change. What made you decide to respond to this global issue in symphonic form? Are you feeling either Adams breathing over your shoulder?

CC: I use the term symphony simply to imply that a piece is inspired by a “big subject.”

Now, don’t you want to read the rest of the answer!

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This Squirrel Is Just for Fun

Michael, you are the BEST!  Thank you so much!  Yes, the audience will like “The Squirrel”; I’m playing it at the end of April for a little mini-recital titled “Just For Fun”, and this piece was requested by several people who heard me play it a couple years ago. —Wisconsin, USA

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