The Organist as Scholar: Essays in Memory of Russell Saunders

The Organist as Scholar: Essays in Memory of Russell Saunders

The Organist as Scholar: Essays in Memory of Russell Saunders

The Organist as Scholar: Essays in Memory of Russell Saunders

Excerpt

Russell Saunders served as mentor to an entire generation of American organists. His frequent presentations at conferences and workshops extended his influence far beyond the immediate circle of his students and, in turn, theirs. It was through him that many first learned to connect the organ with scholarship.

Russell saw his role as an intermediary between the worlds of scholarship and performance. He wanted to learn everything that he possibly could about a given repertory or issue in performance practice and then pass it along to his students--in lessons, in handouts for his organ literature course, in master classes and lectures at conferences. He assembled an impressive musicological library, and he actually read those books that covered his walls. But that was not enough; he wanted to meet their authors, ask them questions, become friends. He rarely missed an opportunity to attend a conference where he might learn something new, and he first met many of the authors of this volume-- myself included--in this way.

The wide range in methodologies and historical periods found in the articles presented here reflects--but by no means encompasses-- the diversity of Russell's interests. A vast chronological sweep begins with Vitruvius's description of the water organ from the first century BC, recounted by Peter Williams, and ends with Lawrence Archbold's comparison of recordings made by Charles Thurnemire and Marcel Dupré in the 1930s. Christoph Wolff introduces us to three new organ masses from the sixteenth century, and Patrick Macey unveils the renaissance antecedents to some of the more obscure sogetti of Frescobaldi's capriccios and ricercars. Russell's great interest in the "Southern" school of seventeenth-century organ composition is further reflected in Michael Radulescu's discussion of the origins and perfor-

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