Academic journal article The Hymn

Calvin Hampton: A Musician without Borders

Academic journal article The Hymn

Calvin Hampton: A Musician without Borders

Article excerpt

Calvin Hampton: A Musician Without Borders A biography by Jonathan B. Hall. Colfax, NC: Wayne Leupold, 2008. 367 pp. ISBN 978-1-881162-19-3. $40.00.

Jonathan Hall has taken his doctoral dissertation on Calvin Hampton and expanded it into a book. All the documentation on organ recitals, pieces composed, and the specifications of organs designed and used by Hampton might give the impression the book was written only for professional church organists. However, this reviewer began to be fascinated by a man who apparently had overflowing, God-given talent, and tried his best to honor God with that talent. Hampton sought to feel the presence of God and the fire of the Spirit through his organ music.

God must have indeed been close as Hampton played the "King of Instruments" at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City, with the sound swirling around the church and through his body, until he was intoxicated with the majesty of the music and the sound. Following him was a small group of musicians and organists who saw in him a great composer, recitalist, and a charismatic leader.

Hampton's organ music brought a new sound to church music and to some congregations ready for a new sound. Global music, with its own kind of new sounds and rhythms, had not yet become popular. Hampton's hymns have not enjoyed wide-spread use in modern day hymnals, because he refused to simplify his accompaniments for the "average" organist. …

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