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||David Enlow, Dean
From the Dean
We try to have a chapter event every month,
except December and whatever month Holy Week
appears in. This season, our October event
is in November! You’ll see later on
in this issue that there is a masterclass
on November 3rd, with the esteemed organ
teacher and performer Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet.
I am grateful on behalf of our executive
board to all who are volunteering that evening,
from our host to the hospitality crew to
those playing. Thank you!
The November event is also in November,
thank heavens. Mark your calendars for the
21st with Andrew Henderson, my nearest organist
neighbor and a gifted, patient teacher and
church musician. Many of us often have to
direct ensembles from the console, and many
of us have never been officially instructed
in that somewhat odd art! I am looking forward
to hearing new perspectives.
In our broader American culture, as you
all know, things are quite tense just now.
Most commentators say we are in near-total
conflict and polarization. I know that I
have been able to draw comfort from organ
and choral music in this past couple of years,
as ever, and I hope that you all do, also.
Our great tradition can provide comfort,
holiness, unity of purpose, inspiration,
and can move the affects of the soul. Courage!
From the Sub-Dean
Our third and final event of 2016 is a Conducting
from the Console Masterclass on Monday,
November 21st at 7 PM at Madison
Avenue Presbyterian Church. Our guide (and host) is Dr.
Andrew Henderson, known to many as a superb teacher and colleague.
me if you would like to participate as a singer or as an organist-conductor.
Renowned artist and teacher Jeff Brillhart will lead our annual
improvisation mini festival on Saturday, February
4th 2017. Save the date in your calendars and look for more
As many of you know, the Chapter's grandest celebration of
all things relating to NYC and the organ takes place on Presidents'
Day. Please mark Monday 19th February 2017 in
your calendars and look forward to a fantastic weekend celebrating
of silent film accompaniment and much more, with featured artists
Peter Krasinski and Chelsea
Chen, and speakers John Bishop (our very own editor!), and Jonathan
Ambrosino. Our principal
venue is Marble Collegiate Church with its new Sebastian Glück
instrument. We will also have a concert on the Fisk organ at
the Church of the Transfiguration.
In addition to the regular program year, we have another International
Performer of the Year Award due to take place in 2017.
In the meantime the Chapter, along with the Peragallo Pipe
are presenting the 2015 award to Daniel Roth,
who will give a concert for the Chapter on Tuesday,
March 28th 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Church
of Saint Francis Xavier (John Uehlein, host).
With my best wishes, on
behalf of the Program Committee,
James Kennerley, Sub-Dean & Program Committee Chair
of the Month
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings
to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety
to life and to everything.
||The Willis Organ at Blenheim Palace
(click on photo for specification)
York City is renowned as a cultural mecca. How many performances
and exhibitions are going on of a given evening? How many musicians,
actors, poets, and dancers are "on the clock" each
day? New York is home to some of the world's greatest museums,
and in our boutique corner of the world of culture, genius
organists are sitting on benches throughout the city every
Sunday. But there's a gaping hole.
On October 17, 2016, The Wall Street Journal published an
Op-Ed piece by our friend and neighbor Paul Jacobs, chair of
the organ department at the Juilliard School. Under the title,
In Praise of PIpes, Professor Jacobs pointed out the glaring
hole in the cultural life of New York. You can read Professor
Jacob's piece at http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-praise-of-pipes-1476732698.
Many of New York's churches are graced by the presence of heroic
pipe organs, but unlike other cultural capitals like Nashville,
Tennessee or Jacksonville, Florida, neither of New York's great
orchestral concert halls has a pipe organ.
What about Alice Tully Hall? The Kuhn organ is a fine, if
limited, recital organ, and would be a fine, if limited church
organ. But that organ would be obliterated by the massive sound
of a modern symphony orchestra, and the stage Alice Tully Hall
couldn't handle one, anyway.
In October 2013, it was a thrill to hear Stephen Tharp play
Copland's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra in Carnegie
Hall, but it was also a fantastic lesson on the difference
real and artifical sound. The orchestra, directed by Leon Botstein,
was majestic in the fabled acoustics of the hall. In contrast,
the whiny little electronic organ was a disappointment – a
characature of an organ, a cartoon. We all know that there's
hardly a limit to the volume of amplified music – boom-boom
cars on Fifth Avenue make more noise than that "organ" in
Carnegie Hall. But volume isn't everything. A pipe organ has
presence and majesty that a digital can never equal.
Thankfully, sound technicians set the levels for that Carnegie
Hall concert to keep the organ "balanced" with the
orchestra. But the difference in the perception of tone was
striking. I've talked about the economics of pipe organs as
compared to electronic instruments with organ committees for
decades, but if you remember that music is an art, money is
not the point.
Professor Jacobs mentioned that the previous conductor of
the New York Philharmonic, Kurt Mazur, lamented as he left
the post that he had failed in his aspiration to bring an organ
to Avery Fisher Hall. I recall a "goodbye" article
in The New York Times, quoting Mr. Mazur as saying that there
are more than 250 pieces that the orchestra couldn't play because
there was no organ. I'm grateful to Professor Jacobs for using
his lofty pulpit to bring this issue before the public. And
I'm glad it was published in the WSJ. People reading that rag
know how to raise money. They just need to be convinced it's
a good idea.
You Be My Neighbor?
||249 1/2 East 13th Street (Click
on image for more photos and a blogspot...)
Wendy and I had a nice New York Sunday last week.
After church, we had a swell brunch at Momofuku Ssäm Bar
(Second Avenue at 13th), and went to the Met to see the exhibition
Beyond Caravaggio, featuring the paintings of Valentin de Boulogne.
Leaving the restaurant, we walked west on 13th, heading for
subways at Union Square, and Wendy noticed the cutest little
rowhouse with a stone legend at "impost" level, bearing
the names Bitter & Moretti, Sculptors.
There was a big bronze plaque at sidewalk level:
"This building constructed in 1892 was the studio of
the noted architectural sculptors Karl Bitter (1867-1915) and
Giuseppe Moretti (1857-1935) In 1891, Karl Bitter won the competition
for the design of the tympanum and doors of Trinity Church
on Broadway and Wall Street. The earnings from this, his first
major commission, enabled him, with Giuseppe Moretti, to finance
the construction of this studio. Bitter is probably best known
to New Yorkers for his statue of Pomona or Abundance, which
stands in the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel.
This was his last work, the clay model completed shortly before
his death and later cast by his assistants. Other works in
Manhattan include sculptural elements on the facades of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Appelate Court Building on
Madison Square, and the U.S. Customs House next to Battery
Giuseppe Moretti created the largest cast iron statue in the
world, the fifty-six foot Vulcan which overlooks the City of
Birmingham, Alabama. His first major commission in the United
States was for marble friezes and statuary in the Marble
House of William Kissam Vanderbilt in Newport, Rhode Island. For
most of his career he lived in Pittsburgh, where many of his
notable works can be found. Among them are the Stephen Collins
Foster Memorial and two entranes to Highland Park. A gifted
singer, his tenor voice was frequently praised by his friend,
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