Matching Items (11)

158030-Thumbnail Image.png

The Organ in “A Secular Age”: Secularization and the Organ in the United States

Description

The pipe organ, a musical instrument historically, culturally, and conceptually associated with Christian worship, is being negatively affected in terms of condition and continued use in the United States by

The pipe organ, a musical instrument historically, culturally, and conceptually associated with Christian worship, is being negatively affected in terms of condition and continued use in the United States by rising rates of secularity, declining mainline Protestant and Catholic adherents, declining worship attendance, and, most directly, the closure of church buildings. No scholarly research addresses the relationship of secularization and the organ, and no professionals in the field acknowledge its seriousness or have presented plans to counter it.

This paper lays the groundwork for future research while exploring the landscape of the organ’s possible secular uses. The organ’s relationship to secularization is defined through the interdisciplinary lens of secular studies, bolstered through an exploration of its past. This thesis analyzes the use of the organ in secularized churches in the United States through case studies of fourteen organs in thirteen former churches. While these examples reveal some promising adaptive reuses of church buildings and their organs, the prevailing conclusion is that the instrument’s future is severely endangered. There are few paid secular positions and insignificant educational opportunities that stem from secularized churches. The public lacks exposure to the instrument because of the infrequency of organ-related events.

Yet because the organ’s principal aesthetic is not Christian but communal, the instrument has the potential to thrive in secular contexts. This reframing and often literal repositioning requires stronger leadership: organizations and individuals promoting the organ must be proactive in working with the new owners of secularized churches to help them incorporate the instrument in new, revitalized contexts. A dynamic future for the organ requires the creative work of many.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

153280-Thumbnail Image.png

Synthesizing styles: international influence on organ music in Restoration England

Description

Following the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, musical culture gradually began to thrive under the support of royal patronage and the emerging middle class. The newly crowned Charles

Following the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, musical culture gradually began to thrive under the support of royal patronage and the emerging middle class. The newly crowned Charles II brought with him a love of French music acquired during his time in exile at the court of his cousin, the young Louis XIV. Organ builders, most notably Bernard Smith and Renatus Harris, brought new life to the instrument, drawing from their experience on the Continent to build larger instruments with colorful solo stops, offering more possibilities for performers and composers. Although relatively few notated organ works survive from the Restoration period, composers generated a niche body of organ repertoire exploring compositional genres inspired by late 17th-century English instruments.

The primary organ composers of the Restoration period are Matthew Locke, John Blow, and Henry Purcell; these three musicians began to take advantage of new possibilities in organ composition, particularly the use of two-manuals with a solo register, and their writing displays the strong influence of French and Italian compositional styles. Each adapts Continental forms and techniques for the English organ, drawing from such forms as the French overture and récit pour le basse et dessus, and the Italian toccata and canzona. English organ composers from the Restoration period borrow form, stylistic techniques, ornamentation, and even direct musical quotations, to create a body of repertoire synthesizing both French and Italian styles.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

157891-Thumbnail Image.png

From Gentle to Giant: Signs of a Continuing Tradition of Organ Building in Central and Southern Germany 1750-1850

Description

When one thinks of the great German Romantic organs of Ladegast, Walcker,

Schulze, and Sauer, visions of the large colossus organs of the cathedrals of Merseburg,

Schwerin, and Berlin come to mind.

When one thinks of the great German Romantic organs of Ladegast, Walcker,

Schulze, and Sauer, visions of the large colossus organs of the cathedrals of Merseburg,

Schwerin, and Berlin come to mind. These instruments were rich in power but also in

timbre and dynamic contrasts, able to crescendo from barely audible to thundering and

back. On the other hand, their eighteenth-century predecessors in the Southern and

Central German regions of Baden-Württemburg, Bavaria, Thuringia, and Saxony showed

a softer side characterized by few reeds and mixtures, generally small size, and gentle

voicing and winding. However, many of the traits found in these earlier instruments,

including an abundance of 8’ registers, a focus on color rather than contrapuntal clarity,

tierce mixtures, and a relatively low proportion of mixtures and reeds to foundation stops

are carried over to the early Romantic organs.

Especially interesting are the transitional instruments around the turn of the

nineteenth century. The end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth, the

time between the death of J. S. Bach in 1750 and E. F. Walcker’s construction of the

Paulskirche organ in Frankfurt in 1833, often appears as a sort of “Dark Ages” for the

organ in which little happened to advance the organ into the new century. Modern

scholarship has largely overlooked these instruments. However, the Central and Southern

German states were among the few areas that saw a continuation of organ building

through the economic and political disaster resulting from the Napoleonic Wars, the

secularization of many institutions including the grand abbeys of Swabia, and a rapid

change in musical aesthetic toward the symphonic and the virtuosic.

In this document, I examine organs of the Southern and Central German territories

of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia, and Saxony. I focus on organs that show

development from the late Baroque to the early Romantic Period, culminating in the

organs of Eberhard Friedrich Walcker in Baden-Württemberg and Friedrich Ladegast in

Thuringia. These little-known transition instruments provide intriguing insight into the

genesis of the famous German Romantic organs, giants in stature and sound.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

A study of Marcel Dupré's Variations sur un noël as correlated with American visual art

Description

By studying of a piece of music paired with specific artwork from the time and place of its composition, one can learn more about the character and artistic merits of

By studying of a piece of music paired with specific artwork from the time and place of its composition, one can learn more about the character and artistic merits of both the art and music, as well as their relationship to the culture in which they were created. It is the purpose of this paper to examine one specific idea within this vein of interdisciplinary study. This study explores the presentation of American visual art from the 1920s alongside Dupré's Variations sur un Noël, Op. 20. This correlation provides a platform for deeper insight into the composition. The sights and sounds of America that Dupré observed while composing his variation set, captured in artwork from that period, illustrate some of the unique and distinguishing features of the musical work. This study also explores the history and culture around music and art in the 1920's, as well as some of the existing research on the relationship between music and visual art.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

153046-Thumbnail Image.png

Toward a "green" organ: organ building and sustainability

Description

This study examines the effectiveness of various types of alternative resources in organ building in order to determine whether a change to more sustainable materials would benefit or hinder the

This study examines the effectiveness of various types of alternative resources in organ building in order to determine whether a change to more sustainable materials would benefit or hinder the overall sound production of the instrument. The qualities of the metals and woods currently used in organ production (e.g. lead, walnut, etc.) have been prized for centuries, so the substitution of different, more sustainable materials must be considered with regards to the sonic alterations, as well as the financial implications, of using alternatives to make the organ more “green.”

Five organ builders were interviewed regarding their views on sustainable materials. In addition, the author consulted the websites of nine national and four international organ builders for information about sustainability, indicating that each organ builder defines the term somewhat differently. Decisions on the woods and metals to be used in building or refurbishing an existing organ are based more on the visual appearance, the sound desired, and the potential for reuse of existing materials. A number of sustainability practices are currently in use by organ builders in the United States and Europe. These include the reuse of transportation boxes, efforts towards recycled metal and wood pipework, and the use of high efficiency lighting.

The investigations into sustainable practice that are presented here document a variety of approaches to sustainability in organ building in the United States, Canada and Europe. This research should assist in the evaluation of further efforts to conserve valuable resources while ensuring the high quality of sound that has characterized the organ throughout its long history.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

155414-Thumbnail Image.png

Adapting Bach's Goldberg Variations for the Organ

Description

This creative project provides an adaptation of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, for the Fritts Organ at Arizona State University. This organ was designed and built by Paul Fritts

This creative project provides an adaptation of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, for the Fritts Organ at Arizona State University. This organ was designed and built by Paul Fritts and Co. in 1992, and is in the style of the high-Baroque instruments of Northern Europe. Along with the musical score of the adaptation, this document discusses the registration choices included as well as relevant historical and performance practice details about the piece. A link to the recording of the author’s April 2017 performance of this edition of the Goldberg Variations on the ASU Fritts Organ is included with the project.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

154203-Thumbnail Image.png

The Italian organ mass: bridging the gap between Faenza Codex (c.1430) and Fiori musicali (1635)

Description

This paper provides a comprehensive study of Italian liturgical organ works from the 15th to 17th centuries. This music was composed for the Catholic Mass, and it demonstrates the development

This paper provides a comprehensive study of Italian liturgical organ works from the 15th to 17th centuries. This music was composed for the Catholic Mass, and it demonstrates the development of Italian keyboard style and the incorporation of new genres into the organ Mass, such as a Toccata before the Mass, music for the Offertory, and the Elevation Toccata. This often neglected corpus of music deserves greater scholarly attention.

The Italian organ Mass begins with the Faenza Codex of c.1430, which contains the earliest surviving liturgical music for organ. Over a century would pass before Girolamo Cavazzoni published his three organ Masses in 1543: Mass IV (for feasts of apostles), Mass IX (for Marian feasts) and Mass XI (for typical Sundays of the year). The prevalence of publishing in Venice and the flourishing liturgical culture at San Marco led two notable organists, Andrea Gabrieli and Claudio Merulo, to publish their own Masses in 1563 and 1568. Both composers cultivated imitation and figurative lines which were often replete with ornamentation.

Frescobaldi’s Fiori musicali, published in Venice in 1635, represents the pinnacle of the Italian organ Mass. Reflecting the type of music he performed liturgically at San Pietro in Rome, this publication includes several new genres: canzonas after the reading of the Epistle and after Communion; ricercars after the Credo; and toccatas to be played during the Elevation of the Host. Frescobaldi’s music shows unparalleled mastery of counterpoint and invention of figuration. His liturgical music casts a long shadow over the three composers who published organ Masses in the decade following Fiori musicali: Giovanni Salvatore, Fra Antonio Croci and Giovanni Battista Fasolo.

This comprehensive look at Italian organ Masses from the 15th-17th centuries reveals the musical creativity inspired by the Catholic liturgy. Perhaps because of their practical use, these organ works are often neglected, mentioned merely as addenda to the other accomplishments of these composers. Hopefully insight into the contents of each organ Mass, along with the information about their style and aspects of performance practice, will make these musical gems more accessible to contemporary organists.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

150668-Thumbnail Image.png

Organ culture in post-war Poland, 1945-2012

Description

Throughout the history of Western art music, political and religious institutions have exerted powerful influence through their patronage and censorship. This is especially relevant to the organ, an elaborate and

Throughout the history of Western art music, political and religious institutions have exerted powerful influence through their patronage and censorship. This is especially relevant to the organ, an elaborate and expensive instrument which has always depended on institutional support. The fascinating story of Polish organ culture, which has existed since the Middle Ages, reflects the dramatic changes in Polish politics throughout the centuries. An understanding of this country's history helps to construct a comprehensive view of how politics influenced the developments in organ building and organ playing. This paper describes the dynamics of the Church, government and art institutions in Poland during the years 1945-2012. A brief summary of the history of Polish organ culture sets the stage for the changes occurring after WWII. The constant struggle between the Church and the communist regime affected music making and organ culture in Poland from 1945-1989. The political détente that occurred after 1989 led to a flowering of new instruments, restorations and performance opportunities for organists. By exploring the relationship between Polish organ culture and prevailing agendas in the 20th century, the author demonstrates how a centuries-old tradition adapted to survive political and economic hardships.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

150676-Thumbnail Image.png

Ernest M. Skinner and the American symphonic organ

Description

The organ is in a continued state of evolution, tonally and mechanically, designed by the builder to meet certain expectations related to the musical aesthetics of the time. Organ building

The organ is in a continued state of evolution, tonally and mechanically, designed by the builder to meet certain expectations related to the musical aesthetics of the time. Organ building in the United States has been influenced by both European organ building traditions and American innovations. During the early twentieth century, Ernest M. Skinner emerged as one of the greatest organ builders in America. Throughout his life, Skinner's quest was to create an "ideal organ," capable of playing a variety of music. Skinner's vision was rooted in the Romantic Movement and influenced by the dynamic gradations and rich, colorful sonorities of orchestral and operatic music of the era. A number of technological developments were applied to the design of the organ which made the romantic organ possible. The prominent European organ builders of the nineteenth century created organs that defined the romantic-style instrument in their respective countries. By the end of the century, American organ builders were creating their own versions. Skinner traveled to Europe to learn what he could from the foreign builders. Skinner built organs that synthesized European and American elements, along with his own innovations, as continuation of nineteenth-century trends that brought the romantic-symphonic organ to its fullest realization. Additionally, Skinner developed many new organ timbres, including a number of stops that imitate various orchestral instruments. The result of Skinner's creative work is the the American symphonic organ. This paper attempts to illustrate how the tonal designs of organs built by Walcker, Cavaillé-Coll, and Willis influenced the work of Skinner and the American symphonic organ. The work of each builder is discussed with descriptions of their designs. The designs and innovations of Skinner are examined as related to these European builders. A number of organ specifications are provided to supplement the information presented here. Today, American symphonic organs, particularly those built by Skinner, are revered for their warmth and charm and are inspiring the work of present day organ builders who are incorporating elements of this style into their own designs.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

151098-Thumbnail Image.png

Organ Improvisation in Context: Historical and Practical Influences on the Craft of Improvisation at the Organ

Description

The craft of improvisation at the organ has survived a long period of dormancy and is experiencing a strong resurgence in the twenty-first century. This project seeks to establish a

The craft of improvisation at the organ has survived a long period of dormancy and is experiencing a strong resurgence in the twenty-first century. This project seeks to establish a precedence for the value of notated music as a resource in learning improvisation, and then, through music analysis, provide examples of how that process can develop. The result of the ideas presented here is a pathway whereby any disciplined organist can learn to imitate composed music, assimilate the musical ideas, and innovate through the act of spontaneous improvisation.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012