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Features

Carol Williams Eastern Europe Tour 2004

by Carol Williams, Essays

Carol Williams Eastern Europe Tour 2004

Carol Williams Toccata “Suite Gothique”, Op. 25 (Léon Boëllmann) (MP3)  Copyright 2001 Melcot Music I am the Civic Organist of San Diego and I spend all my time performing concerts — either in San Diego or around the USA and abroad. I love to travel and feel it is a vital part of my exisitence as it keeps me on my toes! Going to a new country and savoring a different organ and acoustics is fascinating. In 2004, I had two visits to the UK, a trip to Canada, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. My visit to Poland and Prague were extremely fascinating and I have highlighted some of the moments I spent on this wonderful tour. I flew from San Diego early on August 9th and arrived in Prague, the “City of One Hundred Spires”, the next morning. After being met at the airport by Irena Chribkova, the organist of St. James Basilica, I was given the hospitality of the quarters of the Basilica, located close to Prague’s “Old Town Square”. At night, one could hear the chimes of the 1410 Town Hall Horologe. On another night, a dramatic thunderstorm highlighted the historic skyline of this, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, and I recommend a visit if you ever have the opportunity. The oldest organ in St. James’ dates from the beginning of the 18th century following a major fire at the church in 1689. The present instrument, reconstructed by Rieger-Kloss, is extremely powerful and magical acoustics enhance the listening experience. The stunning 1705 case is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my travels. Major work by Rieger-Kloss was done between 1981-82 including restoring the specification of the early work of Abraham Stark in 1705. The present instrument has four manuals with ninety-one speaking stops. There is also a small choir organ of mechanical action with slider chests in the gallery to the right of the chancel but the builder is unknown yet, its pipes show numerous similarities with the large organ at the rear of the church. I did not use this instrument in my concert, but I really enjoyed playing it. My concert was part of the 9th International Organ Festival and this year was in honor of Petr Eben who celebrated his 75th birthday on 22nd January. In the program, I included the moving Requiem from his Faust For Organ composed in 1976. The concert was sponsored by the American Embassy and the U.S. Ambassador to Czech Republic was in attendance. The concert was recorded for later broadcast by Prague Radio — I truly relished the opportunity to present a program on this magnificent organ. Following Prague, I flew via Vienna and Kraków to start a concert tour of southern Poland. The first was at the Monastery in the historic town of Jedrzejow. The Monastery dates from 1210 with the present organ being constructed between 1745-54 in the workshop of Polish organ builder Józef Sitarski. The instrument has four manuals, the fourth being a “pull-out” beneath the lowest fixed manual. It’s sole purpose is to transpose — a most unusual feature. The stop knobs are actually cast bronze handles and the instrument’s entire mechanism has survived intact. The blue and gold screen is stupendous and is located on the western wall of the main isle of the church. The wood casing was executed in the monastery workshop with the ornamentation coming from the wood-carving workshop of the Kornecki family of Kraków. My concert was part of the International Festival of Organ and Chamber Music, initiated in 1993, and takes place every July and August. Staying...

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Straightforward Organ Music

by Colin Mawby, Articles

Colin Mawby Composer profile from MelBay There are many levels of contemporary organ composition ranging from the extremely difficult to the very straightforward. Most organ composers wish to be seen as great writers who produce difficult and challenging pieces which will achieve quick recognition and be played by the world’s top virtuosi. This is a praiseworthy ambition but it is rarely fulfilled. If one studies the ability of organists one sees that about 95% are ordinary players who perform in church on Sundays on not very good instruments. Of these 95%, very few are professional players and many have only a basic technique. Many are reasonably open-minded about repertoire and welcome new music which is written for players of their ability who have little time to practice. They take great pride in their work and always offer their insights and talents to congregations and give them voluntaries which raise their hearts and minds to the Creator. I plead for composers to write for this important group; take it seriously and produce music which is tuneful, attractive and appealing. These organists are never going to play virtuoso music – they can manage a simplified version of Widor’s Toccata but not much beyond this. If one looks at the great output of French organ music, one sees that composers like Franck, Lefebure-Wely and others wrote much very pleasant music for precisely this market. It did not prevent them establishing a reputation as great virtuoso composers – quite the contrary. Contemporary composers should write for this market and extend its repertoire. Many ordinary organists will applaud and thank them for doing this essential and valuable work. Colin Mawby Contact information: Colin Mawby 136 High Street Needham Market IP6 8DW UK Phone Number:  0044 144 972 3321 E-mail Address: contact@colinmawby.com Website Have you ever wondered how to get those professional touches which add sparkle to your choir’s performance? Go to Music-for-Church-Choirs.com to find advice, information, and regular free choirtraining from Colin Mawby in the monthly...

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An Organist’s Life in Israel

by By Roman Krasnovsky, Articles

At the music presentation for Itzhak Rabin Sarabande from Symphony for Organ #1, ‘Jewish’ (excerpt, MP3) I learned to play organ in the Gorky conservatory in the class of Russian organist Galina Kozlova, who, unfortunately, died at the peak of her artistic career. In 1990 I emigrated to Israel, unaware that in Israel an organist is about as useful as an Arctic researcher. Nonetheless, I soon became involved in various concerts and festivals, which gave me hope for a bright musical future. I was especially proud to perform frequently with musicians from the famous Tel-Aviv Symphony Orchestra. My concert activity I started the career of a concert organist through meeting a Swiss lady, Margrit Pfister. While she was neither a musician nor artist manager, she very successfully arranged my organ performances in various countries. Organist and musicologist Peter Brusius from Marburg also helped me immensely. I dedicated my organ symphonies No. 2 and 3 to Margrit and Peter. Thus, I have been concertizing throughout Europe for 13 years. I am fortunate to have performed in: Berlin Dom Berlin, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis Church Rome, Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri Marburg, St. Elisabeth Church Düsseldorf, Neander Church Basel Cathedral (also for “Commemorating the 1st Zionist Congress) Basel, St. Peter Church Jerusalem, all churches Rotterdam, St. Laurens Church Frankfurt am Main, St.Katharin Church And, of course, Cologne Cathedral, where I flew just hours after having participated in my wife’s labor and delivery of our child. In the future, there are performances planned in München Dom, in Gent Cathedral, in Dresden’s Kreuzkirche, and in Luxemburg’s Sacre-Coeur. My life in Israel as organist and composer I made my home in northern Israel, in the lovely town of Carmiel. It is quite far from the cultural centers. There I started teaching piano in the local conservatory. Of course, it was impossible to make a living on the conservatory salary, and through a big personal favor I obtained a job very far removed from organ music — in the department of street sanitation. When the Israeli media learned about this, I was featured in the news and the most popular TV shows. There were films made about me, and I became so well known that people recognized me in the streets and stopped their cars to say “hello” to me. That’s when I got a call from the office of then-Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin and was asked to perform at one of his meetings. An electronic organ, “Johannus”, was brought, and I played Bach chorales (whose content doesn’t fit Judaism very well), and the “Toccata without Fugue” in d. Everyone was very happy, and Rabin said he’s known about me for a while and values me. In 1993 I was invited to the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem to teach organ. In spite of the long distance between my home and the Academy (200 km/124 miles) I drove there once a week after my night job, taught organ, and returned the same day to work at night once again. This lasted for four years. There was no pipe organ in the Academy, and my lessons were taught on the electronic “Johannus” to the very few people in Israel who want to study organ. I started composing for the organ after the 1995 assassination of Itzhak Rabin. My first piece is titled “Mourning Itzhak Rabin”. For a long time, I wanted to hear Jewish music on the organ, and decided to start contributing to that cause. After a few new pieces, I composed the “Jewish Symphony” for the organ, which became my “calling card”. Swiss...

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Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City — pictures of facade and stops

by Lou Hurst and Lana Krakovskiy, Sights and Sounds

Organ stop pictures by Lou Hurst. Organ facade and building exterior pictures by Lana Krakovskiy.  

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Sebastian M. Glück Opus 8 — Pictures and sounds

by Lana Krakovskiy, Sights and Sounds

Dr. William F. Entriken, Organist and Choirmaster of First Presbyterian Church (l) and Sebastian M. Glück (r) after dedicatory recital of Opus 8 last Fall The Sebastian M. Glück Opus 8 was inaugurated in the Fall of 2003. A new CD, “A Small Wonder: Music from Alexander Chapel” has just been released and is available for purchase through First Presbyterian Church. Recorded by Dr. William F. Entriken and produced by Dr. Entriken and Mr. Glück, this CD highlights the many wonderful features of the exquisite instrument now gracing the Alexander Chapel. Listen to samples (MP3): J.S. Bach, Prelude on “Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein” (BWV 734) Vaughan Williams, Prelude on Rhosymedre Zachow (Zachau), #3 from Three Preludes on “Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her” This third prelude is played on a single rank From the CD notes and Glück New York Website: The jewel-box Tudor chapel comfortably seats about fifty people, its gilded plaster ceiling, oak-paneled walls, and slate floor providing a visual feast.Designed and tonally finished by Sebastian M. Glück, this amazing instrument occupies a footprint of only 34 x 120 inches. The pipework is fashioned of red oak, poplar, walnut, planed 50% tin, and flamed copper for the basses of the 8′ Dulciana which flank the main soundboard. The 16′ Double Dulciana utilizes free reeds in the manner of a 19th century French harmonium, with a seamless transition to the bottom octave. An unusual tonal feature is the 4/5′ Choral Bass, which when drawn with the 4′ and 2′ flutes, provides a horn-like, reedy cantus firmus voice. The organ’s pipework is unenclosed, but the keydesk features a balanced expression pedal for practice purposes. CD is $15 and is available at the church office, or you may call (212) 675-6150 to order your copy. The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York  12 West 12th Street New York, New York 10011 Telephone: (212) 675-6150 Fax: (212) 675-8674 Close-up of the flamed copper 8′ Dulciana     Courtesy of Sebastian M. Glück Dr. William F. Entriken at the console Further Links Glück New York Website Dr. William F. Entriken First Presbyterian...

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AGO 2002 Convention Displays

by Lana Krakovskiy, Sights and Sounds

The exhibits at the convention were comprised of music dealers, organ builders, artist representatives and (too many) electronic organ companies. I hung around while everyone was setting up their displays. (This was not unlike any number of the techie conventions in Javits Center, just less noisy and a little less crowded). Since size and weight would make it difficult to bring an entire pipe organ in for the show, most builders resorted to a display of a few pipes for demonstration purposes. One Canadian company (Casavant Freres) created a little model of a church: Others raffled off pipes painted by Pennsylvania Dutch folk artists: But the German company Oberlinger Orgelbau brought an entire organ to the show! They put it together on the...

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