Magazine article The American Organist

Ken Cowan Plays the Quimby Pipe Organ at First Baptist Jackson

Magazine article The American Organist

Ken Cowan Plays the Quimby Pipe Organ at First Baptist Jackson

Article excerpt

KEN COWAN PLAYS THE QUIMBY PIPE ORGAN AT FIRST BAPTIST JACKSON (Art of the Symphonic Organist, Vol. 4). V/155 Quimby organ (2003, incorporating elements of E.M. Skinner, M.P. Möller, and Casavant; see below) of First Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss. JAV Recordings JAV 169 (SACD). Quimby Pipe Organs' Opus 60 is located in the enormous but acoustically challenged 3,000-seat sanctuary of Jackson's First Baptist Church. It began life as a 72rank E.M. Skinner (Opus 535) in 1939. Attempts to update and enlarge the instrument by M.P. Möller (1972) and the Canadian firm Keates-Geissler (1989) fell far short of the ideal. The latter rebuild incorporated a significant amount of pipework from Casavant's Opus 1312, built in 1929 for the Royal York hotel in Toronto, considered one of that firm's finest instruments. Quimby has judiciously reused much of this pipework as well as some from the Skinner and Möller, in addition to creating 64 new ranks to form a monumental instrument that is a magnificent specimen of the Anglo-American "Romantic-Symphonic" and "Heroic" styles. Wind pressures are unusually high, from five to 30 inches, with much of the fluework on 7'/ß inches and chorus reeds on 15 inches. Ken Cowan is one of the most brilliant young organists on the scene today. His program and performances here are certainly heroic, tailor-made for this instrument, exploiting its seemingly limitless tonal resources. His "orchestrations" of Wagner's Overture from Die Meistersinger rival the original; the final pages are spellbinding in Cowan's brilliance of execution. …

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