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In a Monastery Garden • Music by Ketèlby • Callahan • Culp • Rowley • Sowerby and others - Organ

In a Monastery Garden • Music by Ketèlby • Callahan • Culp • Rowley • Sowerby and others - Organ-Organ-Organ Collection
ID: GMCD7212 (EAN: 795754721225)  | 1 CD | DDD
Publi: 2001
Guild GmbH
Organ Collection
BACH, Johann Sebastian | CALLAHAN, Charles | CAMPRA, André | CHUCKERBUTTY, Oliphant | CULP, James | DAVIES, Henry Walford | DUBOIS, François-Clément-Théodore | HÄNDEL, Georg Friedrich | KETČLBY, Albert William | Mc AMIS, Hugh | PARADIES, Maria Theresia von | PERRY, Roy | ROWLEY, Alec | SOWERBY, Leo
CULP, James (organ)
Pour plus amples dtails:

James Culp at the Great Organ of the First Presbyetrian Church Kilgore, Texas
Recorded at The First Presbyterian Church, Kilgore, Texas - February 1992


Born in Birmingham, England, Alfred Ketčlby was a prodigiously gifted musician. At the age of 11 he composed a Piano Sonata, at 13 he won the Queen Victoria Scholarship for Composition at Trinity College of Music, London, at 16 he was appointed organist of St John’s Church, Wimbledon and at 22 he became Conductor of the Vaudeville Theatre. On top of that he was remarkably proficient not only on the organ and piano, but the clarinet, oboe, horn and cello as well. He wrote a quantity of serious music, including chamber, choral and piano works, but he is best remembered for his light, picturesque works the best-known of which is almost certainly In a Monastery Garden composed for orchestra in 1915 and including special birdsong and bell effects. Almost as soon as it first appeared it was adapted for a variety of other musical ensembles and instruments, this organ transcription working particularly well with its hymn-like opening and ample opportunities for colouristic effects.

Twenty years before Ketčlby was born George Petrie, one of the first collectors of folk music, published an anthology called Ancient Music of Ireland which included, for the first time in print, the famous tune now known universally as the "Londonderry Air". It had been sent to Petrie by a certain Miss Jane Ross from Limavady in county Londonderry who claimed to have taken it down from the playing of a traditional piper; but as she always steadfastly refused to name the piper it was long suspected that Miss Ross was herself the tune’s composer. It appears, however, that she had merely modified a tune (called in Irish Aisling an Ógfhir - "the young man's dream") which had been composed by another County Londonderry resident, Denis Hempson (1697-1807), who was the last traditional performer on the wire-strung Irish harp and who lived to an extreme old age in the coastal village of Magilligan close to Miss Ross’s home. As with In a Monastery Garden the Londonderry Air has found itself adapted for almost every conceivable musical ensemble and given words ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Leo Abbott’s sensitive arrangement for organ - beginning with the melody played in the tenor register and building to an impressive climax before ending on a note of calm and tranquillity - pays generous homage to the immortal creation of an Irishman whose 110 years on earth were certainly not wasted.

Any anthology of best-loved hymns will inevitably include "Were you there?" and "Abide with me". Yet their backgrounds could hardly be more different. The first is an intensely moving Negro spiritual which, in the words of Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians reveals "the singers’ own trials and identification with the suffering of Jesus Christ." It first appeared in William E Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns published in Boston in 1899. Nothing is known of the composer of the tune or the author of the words other than the supposition that both were black slaves working under conditions of utmost cruelty. On the other hand the hymn-tune "Eventide", inseparably associated with the Henry Lyte’s words "Abide with me", was composed by William Henry Monk (1823-1889) in 1857. Monk came from a relatively privileged background and in addition to holding organists’ appointments in several London churches (St Peter’s Eaton Square, St George’s Albemarle Street, St Paul’s Portman Square and St Matthias Stoke Newington) was Professor of vocal music at King’s College London and at the National Training School for Music. But despite the chasms of wealth, background, employment and distance which separated the composers of these two melodies, they are united in posterity by having been responsible for two of the most intensely moving and memorable Christian tunes of all time. These two organ improvisations reflect the character of the tunes and the spirit of the words.

Although never suffering anything like the privations and cruelty meted out to the writer of "Were you there?" André Capra certainly ran great risks by associating himself with the theatre when the moral climate of late 17th century France regarded anything theatrical as little short of Devil-worship. A church musician working in his native Aix-en-Provence it was discovered that Capra had participated in theatrical performances and was threatened with dismissal. He managed to save his career and appeared subsequently to lead a blameless life going on to hold important church positions in Arles, Toulouse and finally at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Yet, apparently unknown to the church authorities, he was deepening his links with the theatre and in Paris had three of his stage works performed under a pseudonym. These were such a success that in 1700 he abandoned his church career, threw himself full-time into the work of a theatre composer and within two months of leaving Notre Dame had been appointed conductor of the Paris Opera. He composed over 20 major stage works between 1700 and 1735 (when ill-health, brought on, it has been suggested, by the stress of his "double allegiance to chapel and stage") many of which included popular dances of the time such as this majestic "Rigaudon".

Beginning softly, building to a climax and then gently subsiding to the sound of bells Dreams is the only published composition by the Texan-born organist Hugh McAmis. He graduated from the organ school founded by Alexandre Guilmant in New York City and then went to France where he continued his studies with Widor and Bonnet and was organist at St Luke’s Chapel in Paris before returning to America where, from 1928 until his death, he was Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints Episcopal Church in New York. In Paris it is more than probable that McAmis encountered Théodore Dubois who was then the Director of the Paris Conservatoire and organist at the Madeleine church. In 1892, at the behest of his publisher Alphonse Leduc, Dubois composed a set of twelve Pičces nouvelles d’orgue designed to demonstrate the resources of a large organ. The eighth piece from that set, Fiat Lux ("Let there be light"), is an exuberant toccata.

Best known as a teacher and pianist the English composer Alec Rowley also composed a considerable amount of organ music. His reflective Chorale Prelude on ‘Crimond’ was part of a series based on twenty-four of the most popular hymn tunes of the day published in 1952. The tune "Crimond" was originally composed by Jessie Seymour Irvine in the mid 19th century and has long been associated with the Scottish version of Psalm 23 "The Lord’s my Shepherd". Of much greater antiquity is the tune on which Leo Sowerby, one of the most highly respected American church and organ music composers of the 20th century, based his reflective Prelude on Song 46. It comes from a collection of Hymnes and Songs of the Church by the great English organist and composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625).

First performed in the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, London on 15th April 1738 Xerxes ran for just five performances and effectively signalled the end of Handel’s career as a successful opera composer. Nevertheless in many ways Xerxes has achieved a level of popularity it never enjoyed during the composer’s lifetime through the aria Ombra mai fu which has become widely known as Handel’s Largo. Suffering the indignity of being regarded as a non-existent or "spoof" composer, and suggested by some to be one of the musical humorist Gerard Hoffnung’s creations, Wilson Oliphant Soorjo Alexander Chuckerbutty was a real person who worked as an organist and bandsman in the north west of England where he had been born. Dating from the 1950s his fun-filled Paean (subtitled "A Song of Triumph") makes generous use of the solo Tuba stop while the Trumpet Tune by the contemporary American organist, Charles Callahan, makes use of the splendid solo Trumpet stop. By way of a complete contrast Callahan’s gentle Arioso offers a fine opportunity to sample the organ’s softer stops.

Blind from an early age Maria Theresia von Paradies became one of the finest organists, pianists and singers of her day. She undertook frequent concert tours as far afield from her native Vienna as London and Paris where she attracted large and enthusiastic audiences (as much impressed, it has to be said, with her ability to overcome blindness as with her musical skills). Musicians of the day also greatly admired her playing; Salieri composed an organ concerto and Mozart one of his Piano concertos for her. She was also a highly-respected composer, especially of songs, but is remembered almost exclusively today for her delightful Sicilienne.

For 40 years Roy Perry served as Organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore, Texas. Renowned both as an organist and organ designer Perry was also a sensitive composer for the instrument as his moving meditation Christos Patterakis perfectly demonstrates. He also made several organ transcriptions including a movement from one of Bach’s Cantatas which he renamed Adagio cantabile and the impressive Solemn Melody originally written in 1908 for organ and strings by Henry Walford Davies, who for 20 years served as organist of the Temple Church in London before being appointed Director of Music to the RAF (Royal Air Force). He was probably better known as a broadcaster than a composer but following the death of Elgar in 1934, Walford Davies was appointed Master of the King’s Musick.


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