Produced 2005 by David G. Christensen
From the Organist
At first, when we began to discuss the possibility of a new recording of the organ at First Presbyterian Church, it seemed appropriate to situate the instrument properly in its historical, musical context by choosing repertoire by late 19th century American composers or by a single composer whose work would be particularly appropriate for this organ.
Instead, we chose to showcase this unique instrument in its most important context as the primary musical instrument for a worshipping congregation of the 21st century. So, rather than have you hear what might have been played on it the year it was built, we decided to have you hear what is being played on it today. The selections on this disc are pieces that I have recently played during worship services. It is wonderful that this grand old organ is not just admired, but is still used every week for the very purpose that its builders intended -- and as reliably as it has for the last 116 years!
While pieces written for the resources of a very large concert organ would not succeed on this modestly sized instrument, I am continually impressed by how well it can render compositions from any period when thoughtfully "orchestrated." I have done a few things that some organists might consider unorthodox, such as adding an occasional extra pedal note to mimic the 32' pedal stops of very large organs (e.g. at the end of Gaudeamus Pariter), or transposing a solo line to take advantage of a particular stop of another pitch (as in Near's Veni Emmanuel), or having my friend Marshall Stone slowly undulate a small windchime during the Bach Nun freut euch!
You will hear occasional sounds unique to a mechanical action organ of this vintage. In softer sections you can sometimes hear the sound of the keys pulling the trackers to make the pipes speak, or a creak from the swellbox opening, or a few of the more temperamental pipes that just don't like staying perfectly in tune! At the end of the louder selections you can hear the bellows collapsing after the demand for so much wind! Rather than removing these sounds during editing, we kept them since they are part of the experience of listening to this old organ.
Finally, I offer my thanks to Rev. Robert Slater and the members of First Presbyterian Church for being such good custodians of their treasured pipe organ; to Marshall Stone for offering hours of his time to turn pages, push and pull stops, and provide his very well-informed musical and technical suggestions; and to producer David Christensen who demonstrated his skill as well as his enthusiasm for this project during hours of recording, re-recording and painstaking editing.
About the CD
This CD was recorded using state of the art digital technology. The recording was made using two matched Earthworks QTC1 microphones. These microphones are omni directional (picking up sound in a 360 degree pattern) and were spaced approximately 22 inches apart. The microphones were placed 15' high near the pulpit in the sanctuary to capture the sound of the organ most clearly as well as some of the resonance of the space.
High resolution 24 bit with an 88,200 sample rate was used in recording to maximize sound quality and dynamic range. This technology adds over 30 decibels of dynamic range versus the commercial CD standards, giving much more latitude in recording and providing a better defined signal for post production signal processing. The entire post production and mastering process was done at this resolution, and only as a last step was the signal processed down to the current commercial CD standards (redbook) of 16 bit with a 44,100 sample rate.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Gaudeamus Pariter 'Â“ James Biery
2. Prelude and Fugue in g minor - Dietrich Buxtehude
3. Jesus Christus, unser Heiland - Dietrich Buxtehude
4. Veni Emmanuel - Gerald Near
5. Wachet Auf - J. S. Bach
6. Festal Flourish - Gordon Jacob
7. Antiphon II, III, V - Marcel Dupre
8. Ciacona - Dietrich Buxtehude
9. Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn - Buxtehude
10. Nun freut euch, lieben Christeng'mein - J. S. Bach
11. Let Our Gladness Have No End - John Leavitt
12. Fanfare 'Â“ Jaak Nikolas Lemmens
13. Earth and All Stars - Michael Burkhardt
14. A Solis Ortus Cardine - Gerald Near
15. Allegretto - Hermann Schroeder
16. Andantino - Hermann Schroeder
17. Poco Vivace - Hermann Schroeder
18. Melodia - Max Reger
19. The Prodigal Son 'Â“ James Biery
20. The Peace May Be Exchanged - Dan Locklair
21. Carillon du Longpont - Louis Vierne