Albert Alain par Marie-Claire Alain. Grandes Toccatas pour orgue. Liszt: Works for Organ. Bach: Organ Pieces. French Organ Music from the 19th and 20th Centuries. Jehan Alain: Organ Works. Mess Solennelle De Saint-Hubert.
Bach: Organ Masterpieces. Maestro Music. Bach: The Art of Fugue. Bach: Organ Works. Bach: Complete Organ Works .
Warner Classics. Bach: Sonates pour orgue W70, Silbermann organs seem to have a very prominent position in the new Bach cycle. Silbermann was a close friend of Bach's and they worked very closely together for many years. There's a Silbermann at Freiberg, for example, that we are sure Bach played on. It's the first big organ Gottfried Silbermann built after finishing his studies in Alsace. The thing about Silbermann organs is that you can combine any registration you like and they all sound equally well.
For the Hamburg Bach we also used some Schnitger organs in Holland, where there are some very well preserved instruments in their original state; and the Treutmann organ in Goslar, which has a graver, more serious, fleshier sound, was well suited to the works from the end of Bach's life. Luckily, the Silbermann organs in eastern Germany hadn't been tampered with too much during the time that Romanticism was in vogue. There was a certain respect for these instruments, they were often in small towns, and because of their admirable construction they have survived right up till now.
During the time of the Communist regime there wasn't any money to restore them and so they were allowed to stay as they were. The church in East Germany formed a small kernel of resistance and took care to look after the buildings and the instruments required for worship, even during the War.
Some Silbermann organs were destroyed by bombing, unfortunately, but people realised right after the War how important these instruments were and that they should be allowed to fall into disrepair. Take Rtha again -- it's a little village, and fairly run-down, but there are two Silbermann organs there, one in each of the two churches, and both of them are in a good state of repair. So there are birds nesting here and there in the walls, but the organs work.
I visited the Silbermann organ in Freiberg before the Wall came down. It was in a church where they had installed partitions to make a school and was under a sheet of plastic. It was in a terrible state, but I managed to play all of the Bach Passacaglia on it. There was dust all over the place and many of the notes were out of key -- but it still played, because it was so well made.
Since then, I'm glad to say, it has been restored. When I began my first intgrale, in , it was with the idea of making a few records: we did some of the Trios and the Toccatas and Fugues, and it went down so well that we did the lot, finishing in I learned a quite a bit when I was doing that cycle, and in the meantime an enormous amount of study into early music was being undertaken, so I recorded the second cycle in I never imagined I'd do a third complete Bach.
The owners of the theater gave me permission to work on it, and for a couple of years I entertained myself on weekends coaxing it back into semi-playable condition.
At the end of my senior year, I was surprised one day to receive a letter from the Christian Science Board of Directors of The Mother Church, inviting me to audition to be a substitute organist. To this day I do not know how they knew about me. Having succeeded at both auditions, I moved to Boston at the end of the summer.
Boston provided frequent opportunities to hear fine organists. He had a desire to see The Mother Church organ, but his schedule ended up being too tight. Between and , my position at The Mother Church took on an increasingly substantial role. I was organ accompanist for about fifteen recording projects, organist for the Biennial College Organization Meetings, and organist for the new I.
The following month, I became Associate Organist at the same time Dr. Thomas Richner, with whom I developed a wonderful friendship, was appointed Organist. During my nine years in that position, I played for lectures, meetings, workshops, recordings, organ demonstrations, and hundreds of services — including weekly Spanish Services held in the Original Edifice of The Mother Church, which had a three manual, forty-four rank Aeolian-Skinner.
Between November and April , I also gave a series of seventeen monthly recitals in the Extension. My three doctoral recitals in and were given on the Extension organ. We gave two performances that night to delighted audiences. The Mother Church had always been conscientious in matters of organ maintenance. Around , when Aeolian-Skinner no longer wanted maintenance responsibilities, the church employed Jason McKown, a skilled organ technician and tuner who had worked for Aeolian-Skinner and been in the maintenance business a long time.
Simply stated, Jason was the finest organ tuner I have ever known. He had the unrivalled knack of knowing just how to keep the ranks of the Extension organ in perfect tune; and with over ranks in compound stops, many with pitch doublings, that was quite a feat. In fact, it was sometimes said that the tuning was too perfect! When Tom Richner and I began in June , Jason informed us that when he took over the care of the organ, he found it had never really been completely finished by Aeolian-Skinner.
Some ranks of mixture pipes were silent—taped off at the foot of the pipe. Although The Mother Church graciously divided that cost with them, Aeolian-Skinner was obviously anxious to get off the job in Consequently, in , twenty years after the organ had been in use, the fastidious work of completing the tonal finishing was begun.
Over a period of many months the muted mixture pipes were opened up—some had not even been cut to the proper pitch—and a few mechanical features that had never been functional were made so. As we lived with the instrument over a period of four or five years, Tom and I felt that a few judicious tonal improvements would increase the flexibility and overall tone quality.
Jason McKown continued to refine and balance the flue pipes, and Jack H. Steinkampf, Jr. By , the Extension organ had been brought to a state of tonal perfection. The Recordings Between and. I made dozens of recordings. In , I realized I had not listened to these recordings for many years, and it occurred to me that if I wanted to preserve them I had better act soon, as the age of some tapes exceeded twenty-five years.
During the transfers [to digital media], I was sometimes surprised to find recordings of works that I had totally forgotten I had put on tape; but I realized that many of them were nearly flawless.
Not only did they form a retrospective of my playing, but they also demonstrated the rich, singing quality of the Mother Church organ, as it existed before it was rebuilt under the direction of Lawrence I.
Phelps and the Austin Organ Co. Larry Phelps, with whom I worked closely as co-consultant on an organ project in St. Louis during the two years prior to his passing, had been responsible for the original tonal design of the Extension organ.
Previously a technician, voicer and tonal finisher for Aeolian-Skinner, Larry was employed by The Mother Church for more than two and a half years to direct the reconstruction of its two organs. The Mother Church engaged him again in the mids as organ curator. Other work included revising existing mixture compositions, revoicing the reeds, and adding two digital electronic voices.
Once the most monumental of all Aeolian-Skinners, The Mother Church organ can no longer be considered fully representative of that renowned builder. For this reason, these recordings are an invaluable testament to the instrument's former splendor. All the masterworks presented on these CDs were performed at Mother Church services. At the age of 11 she made her debut in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. She studied with M. During her Conservatoire years, she carried off four Premier Prix.
After the inauguration of her career in in her formal debut in Paris, Marie-Claire Alain took a prize for organ at the Geneva International Competition and gave her first public recital. The Amis de Orgue awarded her the Bach Prize in After a further two years of study with Gaston Litaize, she took up her career in earnest. In subsequent years, she made frequent tours of Europe.The name Sir William Harris, KCVO, MA, DMus, FRCM, FRCO conjures up images of grand Royal state occasions at Windsor, coronations in Westminster Abbey and ‘pomp and circumstance’ in general. To many church musicians his name also brings to mind the eight-part anthem Faire is the Heaven.