Guide 9-10 2019
welcome recording of the restored 1932 Aeolian organ in the Duke University
Chapel (S/O 2016). In the 1980’s this organ was in danger of disappearing
entirely; but after an outpouring of protest, it was saved and its 4-manuals
and 122-ranks were restored in 2008 by Foley-Baker, Inc. This was fortunate, as
it is one of the outstanding examples of an American symphonic organ built by a
firm other than EM Skinner (with whom Aeolian merged in 1931 to become
University Organist and Professor of Music at Duke, presents a program that
shows off all the capabilities of this wonderful instrument. There is plenty of
color and power, heard in the resonant acoustic of the Duke Chapel. The program
begins and ends with works from the late German romantic tradition, which
surround an interesting variety of American compositions from the early 20th
Century. Many of these composers were influenced by or studied with German
teachers and wrote music that was “unabashedly tonal and user-friendly.”
delivers a wholly satisfying performance of one of the more popular of Reger’s
organ works. The Toccata’s rhetorical gestures are coherent and exciting, and
the fugue’s gradual accelerando and crescendo are perfectly paced. This
transcription of the Strauss pieces works beautifully on this organ. My only
quibble is that the Dance, owing to the nature of the organ, lacks the accent,
tension, and bite of the original.
find the American pieces, mostly unknown, to be the most engaging. The
atmospheric slow movements by Price and Ward, and Locklair’s H.H.L.
allow Parkins to use the endless variety sounds on this wonderful organ.
Hailstork’s fine toccata-romp on Veni Emmanuel should be better known
playing is expressive, musical, technically accomplished, uses the instrument
superbly, and has a fine ear for color—something many organists would do well
to emulate. Loft has beautifully captured the resonant acoustic of the chapel.
was in school with Bob at CCM in the 1960s, and it has given me great pleasure
to hear and enjoy this fine recording, Excellent notes by the performer on the
music with specification and photos.