Friday, October 29, 2010

The Organ Loft - Halloween Special

The Organ Loft - October 31, 2010
Halloween Special
Webcast and Broadcast Schedule

Program: Halloween Special
  1. HEILLOR:”Tanz-Toccata”1
  2. LEFEBURE-WELY: “Bolero de Concert” 2
  3. KARG-ELERT: “Totentanz” 3
  4. ARLEN: “Stormy Weather” 4
  5. DAVID-HOFFMAN-LIVINGSTON: “Trick or Treat” 5
  6. composer not listed: “March of the Cards” 6
  7. ROY ROGERS: “Stampede” 7
  8. ROSSINI:” William Tell” Overture excerpt 8
  9. SAINT-SAENS: “Danse Macabre” 9
  10. BACH: Toccata & Fugue, d-minor 10
  11. GOUNOD: “Funeral March of the Marionette” 11

Recordings Used: (Click links to purchase these recordings)
  1. “Toccata” Pamela Decker, organist ARKAY 6091
  2. “King of Instruments” David britton, organist DELOS 3503
  3. “Harmonium Works, Vol 1” Johannes Matthias Michel, harmonium CPO 999-522
  4. “The Anniversary Album” Chanticleer CHANTICLEER 8801
  5. “Songs for Every Holiday” Karen & Cubby DISNEYLAND RECORDS (LP) 1214 (out-of-print)
  6. “Concert Hits” Chris McPhee, organist CMCD 002
  7. “The Roy Rogers Collection” Roy Rogers & The Sons of the Pioneers RHINO 75722/3
  8. “The Magic of the Barrel Organ” Paul Bocuse, barrel organist ABC CLASSICS 8.770019
  9. “Music for a Grand Organ” David Drury, organist ARGO 430-200
  10. “The Emperor’s Fanfare” Carlo Curley, organist ARGO 430-200
  11. “Hitchcock: Master of Mayhem” San Diego Symphony, Lalo Schiffrin, cond PRO ARTE 524

Find the Broadcasts online from:

KING-FM Seattle's Classical Choice — Sundays at 10:00 PM


OREGON: KWAX-FM and the University of Oregon radio network — Sundays at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ECU Chamber Singers - Videos

We've been featuring our new recording "Eternal Light" by the ECU Chamber Singers, but today we wanted to give you a real taste for what the album sounds like. The following videos are of the ECU Chamber Singers performing a couple of works that are featured on the album.

Veni Sancte Spiritus - Mark G. Sirett:

Ave Maria - Cary Boyce:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Majestus - Program Notes

It's one thing to tell you about a recording, and another to give you recording notes, but what matters most is what is actually on the recording! So today we're giving you some program notes from the album "Majestus: The Great Organ of Washington National Cathedral."

Program Notes

Fanfare for the Common Man—Aaron Copland (1900–1990)

Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man was one of several fanfares commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to open its concerts during the 1942–43 season. The United States had recently entered World War II, and conductor Eugene Goossens hoped these pieces would foster patriotic spirit. Typical of Copland’s music, the piece uses open intervals and broad melodies to capture a uniquely American spirit that is at once rugged, optimistic, and heroic. Fanfare for the Common Man is often performed at the National Cathedral, most notably as the opening piece of the annual Independence Day organ recital. It provides an excellent opportunity to feature the two crowning stops on the Great Organ – the Trompette-en-Chamade and Tuba Mirabilis.

Prelude & Fugue in B major, Op. 7, No. 1—Marcel Dupré (1886–1971)

Marcel Dupré’s Trois préludes et fugues, composed in 1912, are among his most popular compositions for the organ. The first, in B major, is the most exuberant of the three, opening with a brilliant, toccata-like prelude. The busy fugue theme emerges naturally from the prelude and dances its way to a thrilling finish. This piece has been used as the closing voluntary for a number of major services at the cathedral in recent years, including the Inaugural Prayer Service for President Barack Obama in 2009.

Prière, Op. 20—César Franck (1822–1890)

Although he composed only twelve major works for the organ, César Franck is widely considered to be among the finest composers of music for the instrument. Greatly influenced by the innovative work of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll—the master organ builder of 19th-century France—Franck’s music laid the foundation for the great French organ symphonies of Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, and Marcel Dupré. Completed in 1863, the Prière is an extremely profound and devout work, with two lyrical themes accompanied by rich, five-part counterpoint. It is played almost entirely on warm 8’ foundation stops, which are bathed in the cathedral’s generous five-second reverberation.

Passacaglia, Op. 40—Seth Bingham (1882–1972)

Seth Bingham had a distinguished career as a church musician, composer, and teacher in New York City, serving as organist of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and on the faculties of Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. Although he was a prolific composer, most of his music is rarely performed today. One of the little-known gems of his output, the Passacaglia is based on a haunting eight-measure theme which lends itself to a vast amount of harmonic variation. The twenty-eight variations explore the full tonal palette and dynamic range of the Great Organ.

Rhapsody in C-sharp minor, Op. 17, No. 3—Herbert Howells (1892–1983)

Herbert Howells is the quintessential composer of 20th-century English cathedral music. His choral and organ music is inextricably linked to the magnificent architecture and acoustics of the great English cathedrals and college chapels. The last in a set of Three Rhapsodies published in 1918, this piece was composed during a single, sleepless night during World War I. Howells was visiting Edward Bairstow (organist of York Minster) and was kept awake by the noise of Zeppelin raids. The anxiety of that experience can be heard in the piece’s highly chromatic opening section. A serene middle section builds to an intense climax and the piece closes with a long and dramatic crescendo to a final C-sharp major chord.

Adagio for Strings, Op. 11—Samuel Barber (1910–1981, )arr. William Strickland (1914–1991)

Easily his most famous composition, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings began life in 1936 as the middle movement of a string quartet. Arturo Toscanini performed the work with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1938, and it has been hugely popular ever since. The Great Organ’s twenty-five ranks of celestes are a hallmark of its sound and are featured prominently in this piece.

Crown Imperial—William Walton (1902–1983, arr. Herbert Murrill (1909–1952)

William Walton was a versatile composer, equally at home writing music for the church, stage, concert hall, film, and ceremonial occasions. Composed for the coronation of King George VI in 1937, Crown Imperial is a grand march reminiscent of Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance marches. The Great Organ’s two high-pressure reeds are once again featured in this piece, including a magnificent coda played mostly on the Trompette-en-Chamade.

Introduction, Passacaglia, & Fugue, Op. 149—Healey Willan (1880–1968)

Although born in England, Healey Willan spent most of his career in Canada and is considered to be among that country’s finest composers. From 1921 until his death, e was organist of The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto, during which time he wrote hundreds of organ and choral works for church use. Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue, composed in 1916, is his magnum opus for the organ. The dark and weighty Introduction gives way to a colorful Passacaglia whose eighteen variations show off many of the orchestral colors of the organ. The Fugue starts quietly but builds to an intense climax before a grand coda puts appropriate punctuation on the end of this masterwork. Few pieces in the repertoire showcase the full capabilities of the Great Organ better than this one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recording Notes for Majestus

On Monday, we told you about our fantastic new album "Majestus: The Great Organ of the Washington National Cathedral" and let it out that this could be the last recording of the instrument. Because of that, we thought you might be interested in some recording notes from Roger Sherman. Enjoy:

Recording the Great Organ of Washington National Cathedral presents immense challenges to a recording engineer. The organ occupies a significant amount of physical space and it has a tremendous dynamic range. Viewed from the crossing of the Cathedral, the organ divisions are situated one behind the other, in the direction of the altar, on either side of the chancel. The sound in the Nave however, is reasonably present and blended—even from the divisions that are farthest away. We experimented with several microphone setups, including microphones in the crossing (capturing the blended sound in the room) combined with mics in the chancel (for closer, more equidistant placement for the divisions). In the end, we decided on just two microphones in the chancel, placed slightly below the impost level. This configuration captured the blended symphonic character of the organ as heard in the Nave, but with just enough un-muddled detail and clarity. This was the best overall placement—not just for the organ—but for the music being performed.

Because this may be the last recording of the instrument, every effort was made to create the best possible document of its current sound. We used our proprietary 24-bit technology, which has no transformers in the signal path—allowing the true fundamental of the deepest bass notes to be recorded without upper-bass ‘boom’. The dynamic range of the instrument is also preserved in this recording, which may present some challenges to inferior playback systems. On a high-resolution playback system however, the listener will experience the full spectrum of this organ’s symphonic color and dynamic range.

— Roger W. Sherman

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eternal Light Program Notes

Last week we told you about our new release Eternal Light by the East Carolina University Chamber Singers, so today we wanted to give you some program notes from the album!

Hymn to the Creator of Light John Rutter (b. 1945)

The double-choir anthem Hymn to the Creator of Light was composed in 1993 by Englishman John Rutter, whose style is influenced by the choral music of countrymen Holst, Howells, and Britten. Rutter, equally adept as a conductor, arranger and editor, as well as a composer, founded his famed choir The Cambridge Singers in 1981, with whom he has made many recordings of a wide range of choral repertoire. Hymn to the Creator of Light, Rutter’s musical setting of two poems by Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) and J. Franck (1618), opens with a mysterious unison melody in Choir II, reminiscent of Britten’s melodic sensibility. Choir I joins with an accompanying texture of unpredictable and chromatic chords which leads to a dense, full sonority before this pattern repeats and intensifies. The second section, marked Allegro energico, features a more traditional antiphony, as both choirs rapidly exchange lines of poetry in an upbeat, conversational fashion. In the final section, which quotes the German chorale tune Schmücke dich by Johann Crüger (1598-1662), the choirs combine in hymn-like fashion, with Choir I presenting the chorale tune in unison. The serenity and repose of this final section, coupled with the richness of eight-part counterpoint leads to a closing of unspeakable transcendence.

“O Thou Great Power in Whom I Move” Anthony Maglione (b.1978)
Christopher Grymes, clarinet

Anthony J. Maglione, active as a tenor soloist, conductor, and composer, has earned degrees in music from Westminster Choir College (BM) and East Carolina University (MM), and is currently finishing his DMA coursework at UCLA. O Thou Great Power in Whom I Move, written by Maglione for the ECU Chamber Singers in 2008, features the first verse of the poem, A Hymn to my God in a night of my late Sicknesse, by Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639), an English diplomat and author. Written for four-part choir and solo clarinet, the piece is based on an original hymn-like melody that reoccurs in variation throughout. The clarinet solo explores both high and low registers of the instrument, and stands in stark relief to the choir’s rhythmic simplicity by way of virtuosic runs and elegant ornaments. The climax of the piece, in which the clarinet and choir join in ravishing chains of suspensions, is among the most thrilling moments on this premiere recording, and shows Maglione’s writing at its most lush and lyrical.

Veni Sancte Spiritus Mark G. Sirett (b. 1952)

Award-winning conductor and composer Mark Sirett completed his motet Veni sancte spiritus in 2000. Sirett has graduate degrees in choral conducting and pedagogy from the University of Iowa and serves as the Founding Artistic Director of the Cantabile Choirs in his native Kingston, Ontario. This antiphonal motet inspired by Charles V. Stanford’s Beati quorum via, draws a contrast between men’s and women’s voices as well as the Latin text by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1228) with an English translation by John Austin (1613-69). Sirett uses the dialogue between the upper and lower voices to create a dramatic intensification leading up to the climactic moment when both choirs, singing in the same language for the first time, ask the Holy Spirit to “fill the heart with Thy light.”

Ave Maria Cary Boyce (b. 1955)

The ancient text Ave Maria was set by Cary Boyce for Carmen Téllez and the Indiana University Contemporary Music Ensemble. Born in California in 1955, Boyce earned his doctorate in composition from Indiana University at Bloomington and is currently the artistic co-director and composer-in-residence for the Aguavá New Music Festival. He has written works in several genres, including scores for documentaries featured on PBS. Written for twelve parts, Boyce’s often dissonant setting reflects the individual thoughts and prayers of a congregation echoing through a cathedral and features excerpts of the original chant melodies. The twelve-part texture exploits the potential for highly diffuse polyphony as well as bold homophonic statements of great power, and the wonderful, reverberant acoustic of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church embraces and enlivens the affect, sending the congregational prayer echoing heavenward.

Cedit, Hyems (Be Gone, Winter!) Abbie Betinis (b. 1980)
Christine Gustafson, flute

Wisconsin native Abbie Betinis has degrees in composition from St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota, and has spent summers in Paris studying counterpoint in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger. She has a professed passion for elucidating ancient texts, including the two poems from the 4th and 14th centuries that she has intertwined in her imaginative piece, Cedit Hyems (2007), commissioned for the Dale Warland Singers. The first musical statement acts as a prologue to Christ’s birth, illuminating the confusion and darkness of Prudentius’ anticipatory text through a series of dissonant chords which lack real resolution. The fanciful solo flute part explores the full register of the instrument and, when combined with percussive whispers from the choir, creates the bleak winter scene of the second text from the Benedictbeuern manuscript of the Carmina Burana. With unpredictable rhythms and meter changes throughout, the choir eventually sings away the winter, triumphantly announcing at the end of the piece, “Christ has come, winter depart!” This is the premiere recording of this piece.

O quam gloriosum Howard Helvey (b. 1968)
Christopher Grymes, clarinet

O Quam Gloriosum was commissioned by Dr. Mark Simmons and the Cliff Singers of Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa, in February 2003. Howard Helvey, active as a composer, arranger and pianist, serves as the organist/choirmaster at Calvary Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He wrote the piece with spacious, reverberant European cathedrals in mind, which led him to compose a work of tranquil and impressionistic sonority reminiscent of Olivier Messiaen’s O sacrum convivium. The clarinet part, which was premiered by Dr. Simmons’ wife Amy Simmons, moves in sweeping improvisatory gestures entwined within the choir’s ubiquitous, sustained sonority. The almost hypnotic and shimmering quality of the work’s harmonic language creates an atmosphere of celebratory repose appropriate for the Vespers service for which the text is intended.

De profundis Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968)

Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti studied at the Parma Conservatory and spent most of his career focused on opera. Even though he received his formative musical training during the early twentieth century, a time of experimentation in atonal music, Pizzetti was a conservative, embracing the traditions of Renaissance choral music and Italian madrigals. Informed by his studies of these genres, Pizzetti wrote music sensitive to his chosen pastoral or sacred texts. His admittedly obscure (but eminently rewarding!) setting of De profundis (Psalm 130) begins with a four-part men’s chorus featuring falling arpeggios depicting a descent to ‘the depths’ from which the author of the psalm writes. The women’s delicate and unexpected entrance creates a thick, seven-part texture reminiscent of the late Renaissance but enhanced by extended triadic harmony of an impressionistic or post-romantic flavor. This lush middle portion of the motet rises to a powerful climax as each part repeatedly asks the Lord, “Who will withstand?” Suddenly, the lower three parts repeat their supplication that the Lord be attentive, chanting on a tritone, one of the most dissonant of intervals, while the sopranos float above, singing “Domine” (“Lord”). This anxious moment then gives way to the reassuring major mode as the text changes mood: “But with you, there is forgiveness…”

Agnus Dei Egil Hovland (b. 1924)
Christopher Ulffers, bassoon

Organist and composer Egil Hovland was born in Norway in 1924. After studying organ at the Oslo Conservatory, Hovland’s compositional breakthrough came in the 1950s, as he wrote instrumental music as well as music for the Lutheran church. It is his church music that has earned him his stature among Nordic composers, with over 150 works to his credit. In his Agnus Dei Concert for bassoon and mixed choir cappella (Op. 167), Hovland uniquely combines the instrumental and sacred music genres with a four-movement concerto for bassoon and mixed choir. Throughout the piece, the bassoon frequently performs extended virtuosic solo passages that explore all ranges of the instrument in improvisatory, cadenza-like fashion, combining writing that is both delicate and lyrical, with passages of significant technical bravura. The choir, whose presence is primarily organ-like in its homophonic, accompanying role, often serves as a murmuring background with only a few moments of climactic upstaging. Perhaps the most arresting and beautiful moments in the work exploit the choir’s ability to beautifully maintain long sustained passages underneath the solo bassoon – as at the end of the third movement. The chorale-like texture that closes the second movement and the brief final movement, entitled Choral and based on the Olympic Hymn, suggest a kinship with chorale-infused cantatas of J.S. Bach and serve as a reminder of Hovland’s Lutheran roots. In this exquisite and simple final movement, the choir shares the focus for the first time, perhaps in order to emphasize the importance of the text, “dona nobis pacem” (“grant us peace”). The Chamber Singers gave the North American premiere of Agnus Dei at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on February 26, 2009, and this is the premiere recording.

“I’ve Been in the Storm So Long” arr. Jefferey L. Ames (b. 1969)

Jeffery L. Ames’s original setting of the African-American Spiritual I’ve Been in the Storm So Long was written as a response to the tragedy Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Dr. Ames is the Director of Choral Activities at Belmont University and holds a Ph.D in Choral Conducting/Choral Music Education from Florida State University. The choir’s opening ascending harmonic clusters bring to mind the rising waters of the Gulf of Mexico as the mezzo-soprano soloist sings in anguish, “Give me little time to pray.” With heart-wrenching harmonies, the choir joins her plea, until a four-part women’s chorus sings reassuringly, “Oh when I get to heaven, I’ll walk all about… Dere’ll be nobody there to turn me out.” The piece ends with echoes of the original supplication as the soloist floats above the rest of the singers singing low in their registers, like an angel of mercy coming to the aid of those on earth.

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” arr. Gail B. Poch (b. 1936)

Gail B. Poch completed his arrangement of the well-known spiritual Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen for his choir, The University Singers, at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1977. Mr. Poch spent thirty-three years on faculty at Temple and has since retired to Massachusetts with his family. This remarkable and lovely arrangement revels in chromatic, yet beautiful harmonies that are both lush and simple - not unlike the text itself. Poch usually employs an eight-part texture, allowing him to create dramatic contrasting moments when one part starts a phrase only to have the other parts join, as if to share life’s burdens.

“Eternal Light” Leo Sowerby (1895-1968)

Leo Sowerby was an American composer and church musician from Grand Rapids, Michigan, whose composed in nearly all genres, including choral, orchestral, and other instrumental works. The final years of his career were spent at the Washington National Cathedral, where he founded the College of Church Musicians. The choir favorite, Eternal Light, (1958) is a rich and beautiful setting of moving words by Alcuin (735-804), an English educator, theologian, and leading scholar at the court of Charlemagne. Sowerby highlights the text through a syllabic, speech-like setting with melodies that rise and fall with the natural shape of each phrase, and harmonies that are subtly jazz-inspired.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Release: Majestus: The Great Organ of Washington National Cathedral

The Great Organ of Washington National Cathedral
Scott Dettra

Scott Dettra presents a program of large-organ favorites on this, the final recording of the Washington National Cathedral's Great Organ.

Music is an integral part of daily life in most cathedrals, and Washington National Cathedral is no exception. In its primary role as a liturgical instrument, the Great Organ accompanies more than 350 worship services annually and is heard in recital and concert throughout the year as part of the cathedral’s broader musical offerings. This recording presents a cross-section of the organ music one might hear in liturgy and concert at Washington National Cathedral, including pieces that have become particular traditions here, pieces that represent the best of “cathedral music."

Fanfare for the Common Man — Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Prelude & Fugue in B major, Op. 7, No. 1 — Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)
Prière, Op. 20 — César Franck (1822-1890)
Passacaglia, Op. 40 — Seth Bingham (1882-1972)
Rhapsody in C-sharp minor, Op. 17, No. 3 — Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 — Samuel Barber (1910-1981), arr. William Strickland (1914-1991)
Crown Imperial — William Walton (1902-1983)
Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue, Op. 149 — Healey Willan (1880-1968)

Total time: 77:03

The Majestus (also, Majestas) is the figure of Christ in Majesty, located at the center of the reredos of the high altar at Washington National Cathedral. The Majestus oversees the organ and choir stalls in the chancel, with Christ’s right hand raised in blessing…

List Price: $18.98 
Our Price:$14.98 
You save $4.00!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Organ Loft - Reminder

We just wanted to take this week to remind you about The Organ Loft radio program hosted by Roger Sherman.

The Organ Loft is a radio program about choral and organ music, particularly music of the Pacific Northwest. Hosted by Roger Sherman, Associate Organist of St Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, The Organ Loft features music of Pacific Northwest choirs and organs, composers and organ builders. Approximately 50% of the programming is organ, and 50% choral.

The first broadcast was on KING-FM, October 3, 1993. Both stations stream their broadcasts over the Web---click their links below to connect to their on-line broadcast streams..

Broadcast Roster:

SEATTLE: KING-FM Seattle's Classical Choice (webcast: KING-FM Listen Online)
Sundays at 10:00 PM

KING-FM, 98.1

OREGON: KWAX-FM and the University of Oregon radio network (webcast: KWAX-FM Listen Online)
Sundays at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Just an example of the kinds of things that are on the show:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Release: Sky-Born Music

Sky-Born Music
10th Anniversary Commissions and World Premieres
Milwaukee Choral Artists
Sharon A. Hansen, director
Jeffry Peterson, pianist
with Stefan Kartman, cello
Indra Brusubardis, soprano
Leslie Fitzwater, messo-soprano

It is traditional during an anniversary year that a performing ensemble commissions a piece of music in commemoration of that milestone. Milwaukee Choral Artists went a step further by inviting ten composers to write new works for the ensemble - one for each of its ten years. Founded in 1998 as a chamber ensemble comprising professional solo singers, the Milwaukee Choral Artists is one of only a handful of professional women's vocal ensembles in the country. With its signature lush sound, MCA brings a distinctive and varied repertoire of choral and vocal masterworks to audiences throughout the region.

Track Listing:

1-Padmapani (2007)
Paula Foley Tillen
Thich Nhat Hahn
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

2-Potter’s Clay (2007)
Paul Fowler
Naomi C. Rose
Boulder, Colorado

3-A Prayer for Peace (2008)
Paula Foley Tillen
Thich Nhat Hahn
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

4-Lake Song (2007)
Paul Carey
Colette Inez
Chicago, Illinois

5-Sigh No More, Ladies! (1961; 2008 premiere)
Kirke L. Mechem
William Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing, II,3
San Francisco, California

6-8 Three Emily Dickinson Songs (2007)
George L. Mabry
Emily Dickinson
Clarksville, Tennessee

  • 6-Heart, We Will Forget Him!
  • 7-Going to Him!
  • 8-Wild Nights!

9-Sky-Born Music (2007)
Paula Foley Tillen
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Leslie Fitzwater, soprano

10-Soft Voices, Sweet Violets, & Rose Leaves (2007)
Jackson Berkey
Percy Byssche Shelley
Omaha, Nebraska
Stefan Kartman, cello
Indra Brusubardis, soprano

11-Nahuatl Hymn to the All-Mother (2007)
Gilda Lyons
traditional Nahuatl prayer, adapted by the composer
New York, New York

12-Wade in the Water (2007)
Marion Verhaalen
Trad. Spiritual, with additional words by Marion Verhaalen
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

13-The Message (2008)
James Quitman Mullholland
Christopher Pearse Cranch
Indianapolis, Indiana

14-How Can I Keep From Singing? (2007)
David Bridges
Robert Wadsworth Lowry
Nashville, Tennessee

List Price: $18.98 
Our Price:$15.98 
You save $3.00!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eternal Light and the East Carolina University Chamber Singers

Yesterday we told you about our new release Eternal Light by the East Carolina University Chamber Singers. So today we wanted to tell you a little more about the album and the ensemble.

Eternal Light
East Carolina University Chamber Singers

Christopher Grymes, clarinet
Christine Gustafson, flute
Christopher Uiffers, bassoon
Daniel Bara, director

One of America's great university choirs premieres new sacred works for choir and single instruments. Recorded in the sumptuous acoustics of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Greenville, NC.

Hymn to the Creator of Light — John Rutter
“O Thou Great Power in Whom I Move” * — Anthony Maglione
Veni Sancte Spiritus — Mark G. Sirett
Ave Maria — Cary Boyce
Cedit, Hyems (Be Gone, Winter!) * — Abbie Betinis
O quam gloriosum — Howard Helvey
De profundis — Ildebrando Pizzetti
Agnus Dei, (concerto for bassoon and mixed choir a cappella), Op. 167 * — Egil Hovland

  1. Agnus Dei
  2. Qui tollis peccata mundi
  3. Miserere nobis
  4. Dona nobis pacem

“I’ve Been in the Storm So Long” — Spiritual, arr. Jefferey L. Ames
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” — Spiritual, arr. Gail B. Poch
“Eternal Light” — Leo Sowerby
* World Premiere Recordings

American Record Guide says of The East Carolina University Chamber Singers after their recording of the Gothic Records album "Greater Love":

The East Carolina University Chamber Singers is the cream of the school's four choral ensembles-mainly undergraduate music majors... The choral tone is extraordinarily fine: warm, solid, well blended, and superbly disciplined. These qualities are enhanced by the friendly acoustic of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Greenville. I am inclined to think that the freshness and purity of sound we hear on this recording can only be obtained from well-trained young voices... Daniel Bara directs performances that are thoughtful and sensitive, with remarkable care over phrasing and nuance.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Organ Loft - Mel Butler at St. Mark's Cathedral

The Organ Loft - October 10, 2010
Mel Butler at St. Mark's Cathedral
Webcast and Broadcast Schedule

Program: Live Recording made on July 23, 2010 with Dr. J. Melvin Butler and the men of the Cathedral choir (choir: Duruflé only). Used by permission of the artist and supplied by St. Mark’s Cathedral.
  1. Louis Vierne: Carillon de Westminster
  2. Cesar Franck: Prière
  3. Charles Tournemire: Chorale Improvisation on Victimae Laudes
  4. Maurice Duruflé: Prelude, Adagio and Chorale Variations on Veni Creator

Listen Online:

KING-FM Seattle's Classical Choice — Sundays at 10:00 PM

OREGON: KWAX-FM and the University of Oregon radio network — Sundays at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Frederick Swann Receives AGO Award

Congratulations to Frederick Swann!

Mr. Swann was recently presented the American Guild of Organists (AGO) Edward A. Hansen Leadership Award. The award was given "in recognition of his stellar career as a concert artist and church musician, and in gratitude for his lifetime of leadership, devoted service, and extraordinary generosity to the Guild."

Frederick Swann, President of the American Guild of Organists (2002-2008), serves as Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral, Organist Emeritus of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and Organ Artist-in-residence at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California. Mr. Swann is also University Organist, Artist-in-residence, and Artist Teacher of organ at Redlands (CA) University.

In addition to more than 2,500 solo recital presentations in major churches, cathedrals and concert halls throughout North America and many foreign countries, Mr. Swann performs frequently with symphony orchestras and choral organizations. In 2002 he was named Performer of the Year by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In 2004 he was selected to perform the Inaugural Recital on the new organ in The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Frederick Swann most recently released the album "The Artistry of Frederick Swann" on Gothic Records. Click here to read more about it and to purchase.

Click here to view all of Frederick Swann's releases on The Gothic Catalog!

Monday, October 4, 2010

We're Back!

Well, we are finally back blogging! A lot has changed in the hiatus, most importantly being that we are now distributed by Naxos of America!

To find out more about this change, check out the Official Press Release from Naxos on

Naxos of America Welcomes the Gothic Catalog to Its Family of Distributed Labels
FRANKLIN, TN--(Marketwire - September 30, 2010) - Naxos of America is proud to announce distribution of the Gothic Catalog ( label group effective immediately...Click to read the full press release

We also received a warm welcome from the Naxos USA Blog - "Portara"

Meet the Label: A Warm Welcome to Gothic Catalog!

What excites them the most about being a part of the NoA family?

The mission of The Gothic Catalog is essentially a marketing mission, and Naxos of America provides us with world-class marketing and distribution. We have some of the most important choral and organ recordings available, including many premier performances, and Naxos will help us connect them to a wider audience.

Any releases coming up that you would like to share/talk about with our readers?

I am very enthusiastic about a new release by the East Carolina University Chamber Singers directed by Daniel Bara. Called, “Eternal Light”, it features new sacred choral music---some selections “a cappella”, and others with a single instrument---flute, clarinet or bassoon. The major premiere is a 25-minute, four-movement setting of the Agnus Dei by the Norwegian composer Egil Hovland. It is recorded in the sumptuous acoustics of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, NC and is truly one of the most beautiful recordings we have ever made.

For upcoming organ recordings, we have just finished two projects---a recording of the Great Organ of the Washington National Cathedral with Scott Dettra (which starts with Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”) and the complete organ works of Jean Titelouze, France’s first organ composer, recorded by Robert Bates on an organ from 1630 which Titelouze probably played at some time during his tenure as Cathedral organist in Rouen...

Click to read the full interview with our very own Roger Sherman!

We're very excited to be back and with a new partner, and look forward to sharing more here, and talking on our Facebook Page and Twitter!