King’s Chapel Celebrates Historic Fisk Organ

by

The story of organs in American churches began in 1713, when Thomas Brattle bequeathed his one-manual English instrument to King’s Chapel, then housed in a wooden structure. Peter Harrison’s stone chapel was dedicated in 1750 and has continued to the present as the home of the congregation, and, over the intervening years, to a number    [continued]

Comments Off on King’s Chapel Celebrates Historic Fisk Organ

Harpsichords and Organs at an Exhibition

by

A very unusual show recently opened in Gloucester: a museum exhibition focusing solely on the musical instruments and furniture of a living builder. Entitled “Voicing the Woods: Jeremy Adams, Instrument Maker”, the exhibit remains on view through February 26th at the Cape Ann Museum. The museum’s special exhibitions gallery features a one-stop chamber organ, a    [continued]

Comments Off on Harpsichords and Organs at an Exhibition

Historic Organ Ends Year of Silence

by

On Palm Sunday (March 20th) at 3:30, the “soul of an organ,” in the words of Arthur Sullivan, will once again “enter into ours.” For 35 years, this writer has kept faith with a promise he made to the organ builder Charles Fisk to take care of a historic organ. The time of repairs with    [continued]

11 Comments »

A Master Gives a Tale of Two Organs

by

Listening to William Porter on the 1929 Skinner Opus 793 and the CB Fisk Opus 139 (2012) at Harvard’s Memorial Church brought abundant joy to a good turnout, which clearly recognized organ sounds brimming with immeasurable know-how and unassailable naturalness.     [continued]

Comments Off on A Master Gives a Tale of Two Organs

McPherson and Street Win Organ Competitions

by

Jennifer McPherson and Jacob Street, respectively current and former organ scholar at College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, recently won prizes in European organ competitions devoted primarily to music written before 1750. Both have been students of James David Christie, organist and distinguished artist in residence at Holy Cross. The third-prize winner in the so-called    [continued]

1 Comment »

Fisk and Skinner Organs Duel at Harvard

by

Harvard’s Memorial Church Organ Recital Series resumes on Tuesday, September 18th at 7:30 with a recital by Harry Huff, who is currently the Minister of Music at Boston’s Old South Church. He will be playing both of Harvard’s “new” instruments. The 1929, 39-stop Skinner opus 793 was purchased from a decommissioned church in Hartford, refurbished    [continued]

4 Comments »

New Fisk Organ for Memorial Church

by

April marks the inauguration of New England’s most notable new pipe organ of recent decades, The Charles B. Fisk and Peter J. Gomes Memorial Organ, Fisk Opus 139, in The Memorial Church at Harvard University. Beginning on April 8th with its “first hearing” at the 11:00 a.m. Easter Sunday service (the organ prelude begins at    [continued]

1 Comment »

The Case for Two Organs at Harvard’s Chapel

by

On Sunday, February 13 at 4:00 PM, Assistant University Organist and Choirmaster, Christian Lane, will be giving a free recital at The Memorial Church, Harvard University on the new/old Appleton Chapel Skinner. His program will include works of Elgar, Jehan Alain, Schumann and Bach. The article which follows explains the arrivals of new organs at    [continued]

Comments Off on The Case for Two Organs at Harvard’s Chapel

Jury Still Out on Harvard Organ

by

It truly was an academic affair at the dedication recital of the newly-installed and restored 1930 E. M. Skinner organ on December 14 at Harvard University’s Memorial Church. From where I was sitting, halfway back, the 38-stop Skinner sounded distant. What I could marvel over was the instrument’s refinement, its great delicacy, though I was unable to find any edgy sound, or bite. The program from Thomas Murray, university organist Yale University, included Hindemith’s Sonata II and Symphonie I by Guy Weitz. Professor Murray’s encore, an organ transcription of Robert Schumann’s Pedal Sketch No. 4 caught the ear, as had little else with the possible exception of the Prelude and Fugue in E Minor by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. For me, the jury’s still out.            [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

7 Comments »

Organist Christian Lane Bids Fisk Organ An Elegant Farewell

by

For background on the instrument played for this program, see the article here.

Monday evening, May 3rd, at The Memorial Church, Harvard University, was an occasion of endings and beginnings, when a large audience gathered to bid farewell to Charles Fisk’s controversial organ from 1967. The first four-manual mechanical-action built in America in the 20th century, the Fisk organ was a beacon in a return to classic principles in organ construction and tone. But its location within the Appleton Chapel portion of  Memorial Church was always a compromise, given the unusual acoustical properties of the conjoined spaces, and its reception was decidedly mixed. Understanding the organ’s compromised existence in the context of the original great musical expectations for it in 1967 appeared to be a theme of Monday night’s concert, given by Christian Lane, Assistant University Organist and Choirmaster. The far-ranging program was carefully chosen to honor those who had played in the first several dedication years, and it was delightful for this listener to recall the likes of E. Power Biggs, John Ferris, and Anton Heiller.            [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

Comments Off on Organist Christian Lane Bids Fisk Organ An Elegant Farewell

Scott Kent, 1943-2020

by

About to play the great organ at Methuen Memorial Music Hall many years back, the eminent soloist Christa Rakich asked a friend to check if recording engineer Scott Kent was in the house yet. What does he look like? Abe Lincoln in a blue-plaid flannel shirt, corduroys, and gray crocheted vest. How do you know    [continued]

4 Comments »

African American Voices in Early Boston

by

Music and poetry can be means of resistance, and they also play a role in uniting diverse groups. Boston’s early heritage of African American scholars, writers, and musicians make the city an interesting subject for artistic and historical inquiry in these challenging times. THE LEGACY OF PHYLLIS WHEATLEY The first Africans arrived in Boston in    [continued]

3 Comments »

Juneteenth Thoughts on Boston & Current African American Composers

by

Four years ago, Liane Curtis, President of Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy, wrote a review for BMInt entitled “Black Composers Matter,”  highlighting the work of Boston’s concert and educational series Castle of Our Skins, named for a line from celebrated poet Nikki Giovanni’s Poem (for Nina). You can hear the original, read by the author, HERE. After    [continued]

17 Comments »

Spirituals and Showboat on the Deep Charles River

by

Postponed until Thursday at 7:00 On Wednesday at 7:00 at the Hatch Shell Boston Landmarks Orchestra will offer a free concert of songs and spirituals by African American composers followed by a concert suite of excerpts and narration from Jerome Kern’s 1927 musical Show Boat. The musical introduced racial themes in forward-looking ways on the    [continued]

1 Comment »

Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Announces 2018 Winner

by

At its annual meeting, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund board unanimously chose as its 2018 competition prizewinner the 25-year-old pianist Jean Sélim Abdelmoula, from Switzerland, granting him a prize of $5000. Judge András Schiff had nominated Abdelmoula. “An uncommonly poetic musician”, according to The New York Times, Abdelmoula received first prizes at the 2012 Edvard    [continued]

3 Comments »

Yuko Hayashi Remembered

by

Yuko Hayashi, international concert artist and professor of organ at New England Conservatory, Boston, died of natural causes on January 7, 2018 under hospice care at The Residence at Salem Woods, Salem NH.  She was 88. Yuko Hayashi was born in Hiratsuka, Japan on November 2, 1929. For more than 40 years she was professor    [continued]

3 Comments »

A Poetic Piped Farewell

by

Organist Nancy Granert chose Adolphus Busch Hall for her farewell to the Harvard Community she has been serving with distinction since the late 1970s. Her recital this afternoon, with flutist Ellen Hinkle, provided a poetic valedictory.     [continued]

4 Comments »

Mem Church Recital Benefits Ashmont Skinner

by

Renowned organist William Porter’s recital at Harvard’s Memorial Church on September 21st at 4 pm will help meet a challenge grant to fund restoration of a recently relocated 1929 E.M. Skinner organ at the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, in Dorchester. In the midst of the final stages of restoring its historic building—the first church    [continued]

Comments Off on Mem Church Recital Benefits Ashmont Skinner

At Memorial Church, the Choir Rocked More

by

The final installment of the inauguration of Harvard Memorial Church’s new pipe organs, the Fisk opus 139 in the rear gallery and its pal, the 1929 Skinner opus 793 in the Appleton Chapel in front, rang out last Sunday afternoon. It was a splendid, polished event, comprising a variety of genuinely stimulating music, something that cannot always be said of musical events in a church.     [continued]

3 Comments »

Golden Glow from Balcony of Memorial Church

by

Perhaps no organ dedication can rival the drama of the 1863 Boston Music Hall recital at which the Great Organ was literally unveiled, but rise to its feet and cheer indeed did the audience listening to David Higgs on April 10, as C. B. Fisk Opus 139 was publicly inaugurated at Harvard’s Memorial Church. Higgs’s distinguished, eclectic program superbly reflected the organ’s scope and abilities.     [continued]

Comments Off on Golden Glow from Balcony of Memorial Church

The Unequalled Orpheuses of Wellesley

by

On May 7, the Wellesley College Music Department presented James David Christie, organist, in a program, “In Praise of Sweelinck, the Orpheus of Amsterdam: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Fisk Organ and the 50th Anniversary of C. B. Fisk Organ Builders.”Octogenarian Owen Jander, whose persistence in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s brought this magnificent instrument to pass, sat beaming in the back row. The concert, performed without intermission, alternated music of Sweelinck with that of his more famous students. His joyful, free-form Toccata, full of running scalar passage work, immediately let the large audience know about the clarity of both the instrument and Christie’s articulation. His tempi are just right, reveling in the brilliant but warm sounds this instrument can make.        [Click title for full review.]    [continued]

Comments Off on The Unequalled Orpheuses of Wellesley