Album Recording: The 1911 Murray M. Harris Organ
St. James in-the-City
Todd Wilson, organ
2 CD set
1. Chorale No. 1 in E Major César Franck (1822-1890)
2. Fantasy on Ave Regina Caelorum James Buonemani (b. 1956)
Three Cincinnati Improvisations
Gerre Hancock (1934-2012)
3. Lobe den Herren transcribed by Todd Wilson (b. 1954)
4. Grand Isle
5. Ar Hyd y Nos
6. Prelude on “Iam sol recedit igneus” Bruce Simonds (1895-1989)
7. Sonata on the 94th Psalm Julius Reubke (1834-1958)
Grave – Larghetto – Allegro con fuoco
Adagio – Lento
Allegro – Più mosso – Allegro assai
Symphonie No. 9, Opus 70 (“Gothique”) Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
2. Andante sostenuto
Symphonie No. 10, Opus 73 (“Romane”) Charles-Marie Widor
9. Improvisation on “St. Clement” Gerre Hancock transcribed by Peter Stoltzfus-Berton
James Buonemani writes: With the passing of some 25 years, the David John Falconer Memorial Organ continues to inspire organists and listeners alike… a voice rescued from oblivion, and today sounding with restored grandeur for many generations to come.
Murray M. Harris (1866-1922) is generally regarded as “the Father of Organ building in the West.” This 1911 Murray M. Harris organ, now extensively restored and rebuilt, arrived at St. James in-the-City in April of 1995. The organ was acquired from St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles where it had been kept in storage after the church’s demolition. The restored organ has approximately 5,000 pipes and 90 ranks playable over 3 manuals and pedal. It is dedicated to the memory of David John Falconer, who spearheaded the acquisition project as the choirmaster at Saint James. James Buonemani, current Organist & Director of Music at Saint James, guided and oversaw the restoration and subsequent additions.
Todd Wilson is head of the Organ Department at The Cleveland Institute of Music, Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, and Curator of the E.M. Skinner organ at Cleveland’s Severance Hall. He holds the Fellow and Choirmaster certificates from the American Guild of Organists and has won numerous competitions including the French Grand Prix de Chartres and the Fort Wayne Competition. He performs worldwide at such major American venues as Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall and Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, as well as international venues in the British Isles (Birmingham Symphony Hall, Westminster Abbey, St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin), and in Europe and Japan. Todd Wilson has over 14 CD recordings to his credit on the Raven, Naxos, JAV, Delos, Gothic, Disques du Solstice and other labels.
This album features the premiere of Fantasy on Ave Regina Caelorum, written by James Buonemani in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the organ in St. James in-the-City, and dedicated to Todd Wilson. Inspired by the medieval Marian antiphon assigned to be sung at Compline, the Fantasy on Ave Regina Caelorum is entirely based on motives from this exuberant chant melody. It celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary in a tripartite form:
Part A – the praise of Mary as God-bearer – a section of mystery and rising intensity.
Part B – driving rhythms and shifting harmonic tension representing the dichotomy of Mary as both a glorious figure and a tragic one in seeing her Son crucified.
Part C – the consummation of Mary in radiant assumption into heaven – a section of great tranquility as the entire chant theme unfolds.