Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting to know Kimberly Marshall

Kimberly Marshall maintains an active career as a concert organist, performing regularly in Europe, the US and Asia. She currently holds the Patricia and Leonard Goldman Endowed Professorship in Organ at Arizona State University and serves as Director of the ASU School of Music. She previously held teaching positions at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and Stanford University, California. Winner of the St. Albans Competition in 1985, she has been invited to play in prestigious venues and has recorded for Radio-France, the BBC, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Kimberly Marshall has performed throughout Europe, including concerts in London's Royal Festival Hall and Westminster Cathedral, King's College, Cambridge, Norte-Dame Cathedral, Paris, Chartres and Uppsala Cathedrals, as well as the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. She has also performed on many historical organs, such as the Couperin organ at Saint-Gervais, Paris, the Gothic organ in Sion, Switzerland, and the Cahmann organ in Leufstabruk, Sweden. She especially enjoys tailoring programs to the styles of the instruments she plays, as is evident from her recordings of Italian and Spanish music on historical organs. Her playing is informed by research into obscure repertoire and by knowledge of performance practice, although she does not limit herself to early music. While at Stanford and the Royal Academy of Music, she gave performances of organ works by Ligeti in the presence of the composer, and she has been an advocate for music by Margaret Sandresky, Dan Locklair and Ofer Ben-Amots. She is attracted to the organ by its vast possibilities of timbre and by the instrument’s complex development since its invention in the third century BCE. Her work reflects this enthusiasm for musical creativity and historical awareness.

Dr. Marshall’s compact disc recordings feature music of the Italian and Spanish Renaissance, French Classical and Romantic periods, and works by J. S. Bach. She has also released a recording of works for organ by female composers, “Divine Euterpe,” that includes music by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Elfrida Andrée, and Ethyl Smyth. Kimberly Marshall was a recitalist and workshop leader during many National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists (Dallas, 1994; New York, 1996; Denver; 1998; Seattle 2000, Los Angeles 2004). From 1996-2000, she was affiliated with the Organ Research Center in Göteborg, Sweden, where she taught and performed. During the summer of 2001, she appeared in Seoul for the Korean Association of Organists and in Toronto for the Convention of the Royal College of Canadian Organists. Her recording of Chen Yi’s organ concerto with the Singapore Symphony was released in 2003 on the BIS label, and her anthologies of late-medieval and Renaissance organ music were published by Wayne Leupold Editions in 2000 and 2004.

Kimberly Marshall spent the spring of 2005 on sabbatical in Pistoia, Italy, where she researched early Italian organ music and performed on many historical organs, including those in Roskilde Cathedral (Denmark), the St. Laurenskerk, Alkmaar (Netherlands), the Jacobikirche Hamburg, as well as the famous Hildebrandt instrument in Naumburg, Germany, which Bach examined in 1746. During the summer of 2006, she presented concerts and workshops on early music in Sweden and Israel, and she was a featured artist for the 2007 Early English Organ Project in Oxford and the Festival for Historical Organs in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What Others are Saying about Kimberly Marshall

Check out what others are saying about organist Kimberly Marshall!

Concert Reviews

“Splendid artistry…an extraordinary musician”
The Diapason

“Technique as smooth as silk… a truly outstanding performer”
The West Australian

“Her technique was spectacular…the climax to the Duruflé opus was built marvelously, ending in the sort of flourish on which organ competition awards are won.” The Richmond News

“A great lady of the organ” Dernières Nouvelles de Colmar

Marshall’s historical fingerings and precise ornamentation appeared effortless. By carefully selecting virtuosic, well-constructed samplings of the repertoire, Marshall was able to offer an imaginative and colourful program. Wolff’s [Canadian organ builder] singing principals and Marshall’s beautifully shaped phrases and tastefully wrought registrations combined to bring out the divine in Bach… Unlike other experiences with early music on historically fashioned instruments, this brilliant program on a fabulous instrument left one wanting more.
The American Organist, November 2001

Recording Reviews

For Bach Encounters Buxtehude

Nowadays to be an organist who is both historically erudite in style and plays musically is a rarity; in that profession the two characteristics have come to be mutually contradictory. Prof. Marshall seems to be one of those rarities, based on this fine recording.

She performs these North German works with discerning musical instincts, great fingers, imagination, superb rhythm, color consciousness, and perhaps most remarkable, a distinct musical personality of her own. American Record Guide, 2003

For Sienese Splendor
Marshall is a wonderful player, bringing the music to life as though it had been composed only yesterday.

American Record Guide, Jan/Feb 2003

For Divine Euterpe
This CD bursts its way back onto the market with all the aplomb you would expect from an artist and a scholar as considerable as Kimberly Marshall…

The Organists’ Review, 2002

For Great European Organs, No. 11
This programme is a sensitive mixture of the poetic and the grand. The American organist Kimberly Marshall shows herself possessed of a depth of feeling and imagination which, allied to a fist-class technique, produce wonderfully communicative playing.

The Organists’ Review, 1989

Friday, September 25, 2009

William J. Gillespie Concert Organ

Earlier, we gave you a posting about the new album Frederick Swann Plays the Gillespie Concert Organ, click HERE to read that posting. So, today, we thought we'd share a video that shows you why this organ and album are so special. Please enjoy:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Fantasy Through Time - CD/DVD

Our latest release was from this month, and included our very first bonus DVD release. This DVD was included free with the purchase of the full-length audio compact disc recording of Kimberly Marshall! In the video, the audience is treated to an in-depth video interview about the organ and the music on the audio disc. “A Fantasy through Time” traces the history of a unique musical form: the organ “Fantasia”. Her insightful commentary on these fantasies enhances the listening experience of her performances, both on the video and on the CD.

This is also the first commercial recording on the new Richards-Fowkes organ at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. This instrument was conceived as an eclectic 3-manual organ, with special emphasis on some of the timbres that J.S. Bach would have known on central German organs. It is a visually beautiful instrument with many details which are shown on the bonus DVD.

Called “an extraordinary musician” by Diapason, Marshall’s performances fully exploit the tonal resources of the new instrument. Her program of fantasies starts with the earliest English “Fancys” of the 16th century, includes Baroque examples by Sweelinck and Bach, and also classical and romantic examples by Mozart and Franck, and finally culminating with the exotic Fantaisies of the early 20th-century French composer Jehan Alain. The program is framed with Fantasies by J. S. Bach, showing the different ways in which he exploited the genre.

The wide survey of the fantasy genre recorded here suggests the wealth of invention expressed in the work of European composers for the organ over five centuries. No other instrument can claim such a vast heritage, and very few single organs could render so eclectic a program so convincingly.

Kimberly Marshall maintains an active career as a concert organist, performing in Europe, the US and Asia. Winner of the St. Albans Competition in 1985, she has been invited to play in prestigious venues and has recorded for Radio-France, the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A native of North Carolina, she began her organ studies with John Mueller at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She later studied in France with Louis Robilliard and Xavier Darasse before returning to the US to complete her undergraduate studies with Fenner Douglass.

Kimberly Marshall received the D.Phil. in Music from the University of Oxford and has lectured for the American Musicological Society and the Royal College of Organists. She has contributed entries for the Grove Dictionary of Music 2000, and the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Dr. Marshall currently holds the Patricia and Leonard Goldman Endowed Professorship in Organ at Arizona State University and has recently been appointed Director of the ASU School of Music.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Les Corps Glorieux

The second album we would like to introduce to you was released on August 1, 2009 by Loft Recordings. It is a performance by organist Colin Andrews, on a brilliant new C.B. Fisk organ in the acoustically ideal setting of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, NC.

So, we would like to introduce to this recent release from Loft Recordings of Les Corps Glorieux (1939), a spectacular work from Messiaen’s early period. Each of its seven movements presents a musical and theological statement, expressed in Messiaen’s unique musical vocabulary. The haunting opening monody creates a mystical, mantra-like atmosphere that lays the path for an hour of extraordinarily compelling music. Les Corps Glorieux evokes Messian’s fascination with miracles and visions and is greatly influenced by his belief that “the heart is an abyss which can only be filled by that which is godly”. This entrancing suite has the defining characteristics of many of his other works, exemplifying his deep devotion to Catholicism and exoticism. “I wished to accomplish a liturgical act, that is to say, to transfer a kind of divine office, a kind of communal praise to the concert hall.”

Also included is Messiaen’s Verset pour la fête de la Dédicace, originally written as a test piece for students at the Paris Conservatory. It is based on the plainchant “Alleluia for the dedication”, but presented in Messiaen’s inimitable style.

Since his debut at age eighteen, Colin Andrews has been recognized as a musician of great versatility, power, and artistry. Born in Bristol, England, Andrews entered London’s Royal Academy of Music at sixteen. His many awards include two prizes at the Dublin International Organ Competitions. The Royal Academy of Music bestowed an associateship upon him in recognition of his distinguished performing career. Andrews tours internationally as a solo recitalist and in solo and ensemble concerts.

This CD was recorded at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greensville, North Carolina. The Church engaged one of the country's leading acousticians, Dana Kirkegaard to create a space that possesses a superb acoustic of over 7 seconds. Loft Recordings’ proprietary 24-bit technology was employed to capture the full detail of the acoustics, and the tremendous tonal and dynamic range of the organ.

The C.B. Fisk firm of Massachusetts built the three-manual mechanical action organ (Opus 126) incorporating elements of the French Romantic organ, which makes it ideal for this repertoire.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Frederick Swann Plays the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ

In order to introduce ourselves, we would like to introduce you to some of the recent releases from each of our labels. The first that we would like to highlight is from Gothic Records and is entitled Frederick Swann Plays the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. This album features a world premiere recording of the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ, C.B. Fisk, Opus 130 featuring 4 manuals and pedal, 73 ranks and 4,322 pipes.

Best-known as the former organist of The Crystal Cathedral, Frederick Swann delivers the premiere recording of the Fisk, Opus 130 with a program and registrations specifically chosen to showcase the wide and colorful tonal spectrum of this superb new organ. The exciting Finale of Widor’s Fourth Symphony, Op. 13, No. 4 displays the full plenum of this organ and Schumann’s serene Fugue on B-A-C-H, Op. 60, No. 3 offers an opportunity to hear its combined 8' foundation stops. Bach’s strong Prelude in C, BWV 545 utilizes somewhat unusual pedal points, and is followed by a majestic alla breve fourvoice fugue. Swann’s Improvisation on “Londonderry Air” is presented to highlight several of the beautiful solo stops and rich flute/string ensembles of the Fisk organ.

Also on this recording is Franck’s Fantaisie in A, one of the Trois Pièces composed in 1878 for the inauguration of the large organ at the Palais du Trocadéro in Paris. His requested registrations can be fully realized on this organ, the reeds of which speak with a decided French accent. In sharp contrast to the “French sound,” the more staid and weighty English ensembles heard in Norman Cocker’s Tuba Tune accompany the commanding Tuba located high in the organ loft. John La Montaine’s Even Song is a quiet, reflective composition and one of three organ works by this Pulitzer-prizewinning American composer. The new Fisk’s beautiful string stops and the solo Doppel Flute are featured.

The works by Mendelssohn and Rheinberger found here are both inspired by Bach. Rheinberger ‘s Passacaglia of Sonata No. 8 is regarded as one of his most outstanding organ works and is performed on this recording in a classic (rather than romantic) manner, using several stops and ensemble combinations not heard elsewhere on this CD. The Six Organ Sonatas of Mendelssohn, commissioned by the English publisher Coventry and Hollier, were composed between 1839 and 1845. Mendelssohn paid homage to Bach by including German chorales or fugues in five of the six organ sonatas.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Artist Roster & Grammy Nominees

Today we wanted to share with you our artist roster here at Loft Recordings, however it is extremely, extremely long. So, instead we are going to give you the link.

So, click HERE to view our artist roster!

But, because we don't want to simply give you a link for our last posting before the weekend, we wanted to tell you about our Grammy Nominated albums of the past!

Nominated for Best Choral Performance Grammy in 2003!

Composer and librettist Dominick Argento is one of America's leading composers and amont the most frequently performed 20th-century composers of opera. His chamber pieces as well have met with international acclaim. Argento has a long history of collaboration with the Dale Warland Singers; this new release features a world-premiere recording of the composer's Walden Pond, a song cycle based on text by Henry David Thoreau and scored for chorus, three cellos, and harp.

Winner of the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance!

Recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The War Requiem was written in 1962 for the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral and was first performed there in May 1962. Coventry Cathedral had been destroyed during the Battle of Britain in World War II. The work received immediate critical acclaim andd was hailed as a masterpiece.

A life-long pacifist, Britten wrote his Requiem as a statement against the horrors of war. In it, he intersperses the traditional Latin Requiem texts with works by Wilfred Owen, a poet who died in battle in World War I.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

About Loft Recordings

Loft Recordings and The Gothic Catalog
Organ and choral recordings of distinction

The mission of Loft Recordings is to generate enthusiasm and literacy in classical music, particular music for organs and choirs. Loft Recordings publishes recordings, produces and weekly radio program (The Organ Loft), provides recording services for artists, and offers recordings for sale through this website and a mail order catalog.

Loft Recordings was founded in 1999; in 2001, Loft purchased the assets of Gothic Records, a company which had been producing great organ and choral recordings for almost 25 years. Loft established "The Gothic Catalog" as a mail-order webstore where recordings from both companies could be showcased, alongside other recordings from third-party labels.
In June 2008, we acquired Clarion Records, a record label which features semi-professional American choirs and a large catalog of world premier choral recordings.
Today, The Gothic Catalog features the following "house labels":
  • Loft Recordings—recordings with an international focus; organ recordings with an early music emphasis, period instruments, premier recording technology.
  • reZound—re-issues, recitals, radio programs.
  • Gothic Records—mostly American choirs, unusual repertoire; concert programs on American classic organs.
  • Clarion Records—Pro and semi-pro American choirs, world premier choral recordings
  • Quilisma—exclusive import! Young artists from the UK with a special emphasis on choral music.