Magazine article The Tracker

Music for a Princess

Magazine article The Tracker

Music for a Princess

Article excerpt

CD

Music for a Princess, Annette Richards, organist. The organ of Anabel Taylor Chapel at Cornell University by Munetaka Yokota/GOART et al. Loft Recordings, LRCD-1129. Available at www.ohscatalog.org. I was unable to attend the OHS convention in Syracuse this summer and thus missed seeing and hearing the new organ in Cornell's Anabel Taylor Chapel. (I remember with pleasure playing the Helmuth Wolff organ formerly there and now re-located to Binghamton.) Thus it was a welcome arrival to find this CD in my mailbox for review.

The present chapel organ began in 2003 as a collaboration among three academic institutions: Cornell University, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and the Eastman School of Music, under the direction of Munetaka Yokota at the Gothenburg Organ Art Center (GOART). Christopher Lowe and Peter De Boer built the organ case, and the windchests and key- and stop-action were made by Parsons Pipe Organ Builders. Annette Richards, a distinguished scholar of C.P.E. Bach in particular, and professor of organ and university organist at Cornell, conceived and oversaw the project.

The organ is a reconstruction of the design of the celebrated 1706 organ in the Charlottenburg-Schlosskapelle (Eosander Chapel) in Berlin, ascribed to Arp Schnitger but perhaps mostly the work of his master apprentice Lambert Daniel Kastens. Various vicissitudes afflicted the organ but its importance was sufficient in 1943 that it was disassembled by Alexander Schuke of Potsdam and stored in the cellar vaults of the city castle of Berlin. Alas, a year later it was completely destroyed by allied bombs. I have somewhere in my collection a set of 45 rpm discs of Fritz Heitmann playing Bach on this organ, recorded in 1938; you can find excerpts on YouTube.

To recount a story all too familiar to organists and organbuilders, when the Swedish architect Johann Friedrich Eosander Goethe designed the chapel at Charlottenburg-Schloss he did not provide a proper place for an organ. As a consequence, the resulting instrument is most unusual, a prominent Rückpositiv with an 8' Principal facade, and a Hauptwerk and Pedal hidden behind it. Needless to say, the Rückpositiv projected well into the room, but the Hauptwerk and Pedal were somewhat buried. The organ had been thoroughly documented and in 1969 Karl Schuke was able to make a careful reconstruction of it. …

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