Magazine article The Tracker

Cathedral Encores

Magazine article The Tracker

Cathedral Encores

Article excerpt

Cathedral Encores, selections from performances on the 1875 E. & G.G. Hook & Hastings organ, Opus 801, in Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston, CD recorded and produced by AFKA, BKM Associates, Box 22, Wilmingon MA 01887. $20 (plus $2 shipping). Available from Cathedral Organ Restoration Fund, att. Leo Abbott, 75 Union Park St., Boston, MA 021 18. Perhaps the first time I heard Opus 801 was in 1976 during the AGO Convention in Boston. The Handel and Haydn Society performed the Chandos Anthems of Handel and Barbara Bruns played a Handel concerto with them, both using a small organ my firm had installed there temporarily before its final destination on Squirrel Island in Maine. Naturally many in the authence wanted to hear the very large instrument in the rear gallery, but it was not in very good condition in those days, and wasn't deemed capable of supporting a recital for the convention. Instead, the late Phillip Beaudry played briefly on it. My recollection, maybe colored by vanity, was that my little organ did a better job of projecting sound in the cathedral than the 5,292 pipes of the E. & G.G. Hook & Hastings.

Of course it turned out that simply cleaning the pipes resulted in a sound that not only fills the cathedral, but makes this one of the most exciting organs in Boston. It is the largest surviving E. & G.G. Hook & Hastings organ, and it was the largest organ in America when it was built.

Leo J. Abbott, the cathedral music director and organist, made a fine recording on the instrument back in 1991. The present recording samples pieces from 20 years of Benefit and Birthday Concerts in which many of Boston's most gifted organists have performed. …

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