Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Craighead-Saunders Organ

The following article and information comes from The New York Times. We are excerpting a small portion but strongly encourage you to read the full article on as they have included 3 audio tracks within the article.

Published: December 21, 2009

ROCHESTER — The ceremonial pipe organ of the 18th century was the Formula One racer of its time, a masterpiece of human ingenuity so elegant in its outward appearance that a casual observer could only guess at the complexity that lay within.

Each organ was designed to fit its intended space, ranging in size from local churches where townspeople could worship to vast cathedrals fit for royalty. The builders were precision craftsmen celebrated for their skill in hand-making thousands of moving parts and in shaping and tuning metal and wooden pipes to mimic the sounds of each instrument in an orchestra.

The effect was breathtaking. “Each instrument speaks to you in a different way,” said Hans Davidsson, a concert organist, sitting before the console of the organ at the cavernous Christ Church, Episcopal, in Rochester. Dr. Davidsson began to play the Bach hymn “Gottes Sohn Ist Kommen” (“The Son of God Has Come”), and an enormous, bell-clear sound exploded from the gleaming pipes that soared above him.

The organ, the Craighead-Saunders, is a unique instrument, not only because of its lovely sound, but also because it is a nearly exact copy of a late Baroque organ built by Adam Gottlob Casparini of East Prussia in 1776. The original stands in the Holy Ghost Church in Vilnius, Lithuania...

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