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The Cathedral Organ
Marcel Dupre, Cesar Franck, Constantin Homilius
The Cathedral Organ
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #1

Iain Quinn, director of cathedral music at the Cathedral Church of St. John in Albuquerque, New Mexico, introduces recording premieres of several works, several of which are adaptations for organ of Romantic masterworks...  more »


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Iain Quinn, director of cathedral music at the Cathedral Church of St. John in Albuquerque, New Mexico, introduces recording premieres of several works, several of which are adaptations for organ of Romantic masterworks for piano, in one of two recordings being simultaneously released as the "first" CDs of the 2002 Reuter organ, op. 2210, which incorporates some parts of the previous Reuter op. 910 of 1950, at the Cathedral. The largely Romantic program well suits the warm and powerful sounds of the organ which are well captured in a gracious acoustic by recording engineer Peter Nothnagle.

Writes Albert Neutel, President of the Reuter firm, "The warm acoustics in this `mile high' cathedral space, and the placement of the organ, allowed for the use of varied wind pressure to create the sound of what is truly a cathedral organ. The Great principal chorus is voiced on 2-3/8" pressure while the enclosed divisions are on 6". The Tuba plays on 25" of pressure. The Antiphonal, located over the main entry to the cathedral, plays on 3" of pressure, with the Bishop's Trumpet on 6". The tonal design of the organ is Reuter's American Classic. Every stop in the organ is voiced with the ideal harmonic development for clarity and refined beauty. The layering of musical textures allows for seamless crescendos to a commanding tutti."

Notes on the Music by Iain Quinn Marcel Dupré (1886-1971), born in Rouen, became one of the world's most well known organists and composers for the instrument. He studied with Alexandre Guilmant and Charles-Marie Widor, whom he succeeded in 1934 as organist of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, nearly thirty years after becoming the assistant at the church. From 1926-1954, he was the organ professor at the Paris Conservatoire and served as Director from 1954-1956. In 1942, the Abbé Robert Delestre, Maître de Chapelle of Rouen Cathedral, took Dupré to see the unmarked grave of the founding father of French organ music, Jean Titelouze. Shortly after, Dupré composed Le Tombeau de Titelouze, 12 Chorales sur des Hymnes liturgiques, op. 38, which he inscribed to Abbé Delestre. Placare Christe servulis is the last piece in the set and treats the hymn melody for All Saints in the style of a toccata.

Ferrucio Busoni (1866-1924) was born in Empoli (Province of Florence) and was the only child of two musicians. His mother was a pianist and his father a clarinetist. A child prodigy, he made his debut as a pianist at the age of seven and, just a few years later, played some of his own compositions in Vienna where he met Brahms, Liszt and Anton Rubinstein. He studied briefly in Graz and held teaching posts in Helsinki, Moscow and Boston. In 1894, he settled in Berlin and performed as both a pianist and conductor while promoting the performance of contemporary music. During World War I, he lived in Bologna where he was director of the conservatory, and later he lived in Zürich. In 1920, he returned to Berlin where he died four years later. His students included the pianists Claudio Arrau and Egon Petri and the composers Kurt Weill, Stefan Wolpe and Edgard Varèse.

His contributions to the organ literature are limited to the two works heard on this disc along with orchestral organ parts in stage works. The Praeludium (Basso Ostinato), op. 7, is dated 30 June 1880, Graz. However, the date for completion of the Doppelfuge zum Choral, op. 76, is unclear. These two pieces certainly work well together, and the double fugue is a fine example of the Germanic tradition fused with Italian musical bravura.

Born in Liège, César Franck (1822-1890) was originally set on a course by his father to be a concert pianist. On moving to Paris, his Belgian nationality first prevented him from attending the Conservatoire. However, once admitted, he failed to achieve distinction as a performer, and he turned his attention to composition. By 1846, he earned a living as a teacher and organist in Paris, garnering great fame as organist of St. Clotilde with the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ. Known to his pupils as "Pater seraphicus", he was eventually appointed professor of organ at the Conservatoire. His compositions drew the attention of many luminaries including Franz Liszt, for whom Franck played his Six Pièces d'orgue in 1866.

Pièce Héroïque holds a distinct place in the repertoire as an early example of organ composition in the symphonic style. "Mon orgue, c'est mon orchestre" are the well-known words of Franck and it is clear that, despite compositions in almost every genre, the organ works remained central to his output. The Trois Pièces pour le grande orgue, of which Pièce Héroïque is the second piece, were written with the concert organ of the Salle de Fêtes at the Trocadero in mind. The orchestral approach to the organ is especially notable in the central section, where the pedal imitates the timpani while the gentle combination of reed and flute above produce a unique timbre.

The version of Tu es Petrus - Hymne du Pape, S664ii (1867) recorded is the heretofore unpublished second organ version of the eighth movement of Liszt's great oratorio Christus. The theme is well known, both from the oratorio and in the slightly simpler version of it under the title Inno del Papa for organ and for piano. There is also a vocal version to Italian words by Liszt himself, intended as a hymn in honor of Pope Pius IX, hence the title of the present manuscript. The Latin words in the oratorio refer to Jesus calling Peter "the rock upon which his church would be built", and this is musically portrayed in the opening page with the hammer-like blows between the pedals of the organ and the manuals. The middle section refers to Jesus' last command to Peter; "Feed my sheep". In the second version of this transcription, Liszt adopts a more intimate tone than in the original. Although the manuscript is written on only two staves, Liszt notes that the piece is composed for organ. Consequently, a judicious use of the pedals is employed in keeping with the other versions of the work.

Liszt's pupil and apologist Alexander Wilhelm Gottschalg (1827-1908) was the impetus for a number of later Liszt organ pieces. Gottschalg would arrange for organ a piano, orchestral or choral piece by Liszt; then, he would submit it to Liszt for approval. The Consolation, no. 3, S672d/1 (1879) arranged by A. W. Gottschalg and recorded here is one such example. Liszt would generally make wholesale revisions to the transcription, effectively appropriating it as his own work, but, as with a number of piano transcriptions made by other Liszt pupils, he allowed the first arranger's name to be printed on the published score -- generous to his younger colleagues as ever, but a thorn in the side of future catalogers and musicologists! Thus, the present piece was first arranged by Gottschalg, transposing the famous original piano work (of around 1850) from D-flat major to A major. The manuscript shows Liszt's alterations, and the final version should be happily credited to Liszt alone.

Konstantin Feodorovich Homilius (1840- ca. 1918) was a Russian who studied in Dresden and was organist of the German Reformed Church in St. Petersburg and played violin in the court orchestra. He contributed the Prelude in G to an early 20th-century anthology of organ music which was published in France.

Edwin Lemare (1865-1934) enjoyed an enormously successful career as a concert organist, composer and arranger of orchestral works for the organ. Following in the footsteps of W. T. Best, he traveled the world giving concerts to capacity audiences and was undoubtedly one of the great organ virtuosos.

The history of the Andantino in D-flat is especially interesting and I am indebted to the Lemare scholar Nelson Barden for his insight on this subject. Lemare first played the Andantino in D-flat in 1888 at the parish church in Sheffield where he was organist. In 1892, Robert Cocks of London started publishing Lemare's compositions and paid a flat fee of three guineas for the Andantino (in those days about $15). It proved uncommonly successful and soon audiences demanded its inclusion in programs. The piece became as much a Lemare staple as the Minuet for Paderewski and the Prelude in C-sharp minor for Rachmaninoff. In 1921, the popular songwriter Charles Daniels of Oakland, California, set the tune of an "old master" to sentimental lyrics and published it under his pen name, Neil Moret. Moonlight and Roses became one of the most popular songs of all time and, by 1925, had sold over a million copies. As Daniels had merely changed the A-B-A form of the Andantino into the B-A-B of Moonlight and Roses, Lemare threatened legal action. Daniels grudgingly gave a percentage of the royalties to the "old master" and added his name to the sheet music. For the first time since Robert Cocks paid him three guineas for the Andantino, the composer began to profit from one of the most popular melodies ever written.

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was born in Semyonovo, near Novgorod, into a noble family with a strong military background. After falling on hard times, the family moved to Saint Petersburg where Rachmaninov studied at the Conservatory before going to Moscow. His piano teachers were Nikolay Zverev and Alexander Siloti. He also studied harmony with Anton Arensky and counterpoint with Sergei Taneyev. His early compositions include the famous Prelude in C sharp minor, a work he came to loathe after its popularity resulted in it being the most requested piece for encores throughout his performing career. His compositional career included tremendous receptions of new works, such as the Piano Concerto No. 2, as well as sharp criticism, as with the First Symphony. Audiences, however, seldom quibbled with either Rachmaninov the composer or the pianist. Despite some setbacks, he achieved enormous success in Europe and the USA, where he ultimately lived and become a citizen. Bearing in mind his wonderful sense of symphonic color, it a great shame that Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) did not contribute a work to the organ repertory. We have been left only a one-page piece for harmonium from the first edition of the Trio élégiaque, op. 9, (recorded by Iain Quinn on The Tsar of Instruments, Chandos 10043). A story has lingered for many years that Rachmaninoff was to write an organ concerto for Marcel Dupré, although no part of the work has come to light. This rumor is all the more curious because Dupré's closest association with a Russian composer was undoubtedly with Glazunov, who attended services at Saint-Sulpice and was known to play every instrument in the orchestra. Perhaps both Glazunov and Rachmaninoff believed, like Reger, that the organ was an orchestra in itself. This transcription of the Barcarolle, from the opus 10 collection of piano works, was made by the writer for an east coast tour in the U. S. in 1995 and revisited following a visit to the Kensico Cemetery, New York, to see the Rachmaninov grave in 2005.

Herbert Howells (1892-1983) knew from an early age that he wanted to be a composer. He studied with Wood and Stanford at the Royal College of Music, London where he later taught for many years. Although many of his early works are instrumental and highly regarded, it is Howells' compositions written for the Anglican church that have become especially well known. Master Tallis's Testament is part of the set of Six Pieces for Organ which were completed in 1940 and dedicated to Herbert Sumsion. In many ways the set is an homage to an earlier age. The composer writes, "All through my life I've had this strange feeling that I belonged somehow to the Tudor period -- not only musically but in every way."

Leslie Howard (b. 1948) studied in Australia, Italy and London where he currently resides. In recent years, he recorded the complete solo piano works of Liszt -- the largest recording project ever undertaken by one musician. In addition to his international work as a concert pianist, he also has composed works in almost every genre, and they have been performed worldwide. Mr. Howard is President of The Liszt Society. Leslie Howard writes, "The Preghiera - Præludium for organ, opus 26a, was composed in Bulawayo [Zimbabwe] in 1996 for Iain Quinn, in thanks for his performances of my previously-written Moto di gioia - Postludium, opus 27 [recorded on The Great Organ, Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Raven OAR-360]. Both pieces are intended to frame my setting of the Ordinary of the Mass for double choir and organ - Missa Sancti Petri, opus 26, composed in 1993 for St. Peter's, Eaton Square, London -- but either may be performed separately in concert or as a church voluntary. The Preghiera is based on material from the Agnus Dei of the Mass, and, like that movement, is an andante, with a lyrical theme in 5/4 time, close-positioned chordal accompaniment, and an ostinato figure treading gently across intervals of a fourth, heard simultaneously in the highest and lowest registers available from the pedal organ."

Max Reger (1873-1916) was born in Brand, Bavaria and studied in Munich and Wiesbaden with Hugo Reimann. In 1901, he settled in Munich where he taught organ composition. From 1907-1098 he was music director of the university in Leipzig and from 1908 until his death was professor of composition at the conservatoire. From 1911 he was also conductor of the court orchestra at Meiningen and moved to Jena when the orchestra was disbanded in 1914. Despite his short life, Reger was a prolific composer and his organ works are landmarks in the repertory, especially the large-scale choral fantasies. The Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor was published posthumously. The opening is full of the passion and harmonic density one associates with Reger, whereas the Passacaglia begins in a style reminiscent of Bach. It develops dramatically over each variation, each one a little more harmonically ambitious than the previous one.

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