An Organ Atlas of the Capital District Region of New York State

The American Organist, June 2007 | Go to article overview

An Organ Atlas of the Capital District Region of New York State


BOOKS AN ORGAN ATLAS OF THE CAPITAL DISTRICT REGION OF NEW YORK STATE, ed. Jonathan Ambrosino. Richmond, Va.: OHS Press, 2006. xxii, 250 pp., ill. ISBN 0-913499-73-0. $35 (available from the Organ Historical Society, Box 26811, Richmond, VA 23261; www.ohscatalog.com). The annual conventions of the Organ Historical Society have been an important part of the organ scene in North America for many years. The 50th anniversary convention, held June 25-30, 2006, in the Capital District region of New York State, was an especially noteworthy and festive event with six days of lectures and concerts on 22 historic instruments. (Disclosure: This reviewer was a featured speaker at the convention but played no part in the preparation of the Organ Atlas.)

For over 20 years, the Organ Handbook appeared as the OHS convention booklet. More than a schedule of convention events, the Organ Handbook was a useful reference work with information about the historic instruments highlighted by the OHS. A different approach was taken for the 2006 convention. The Organ Atlas has a large, magazine-size format, rather than the smaller pocketbooksize of the Organ Handbook. This allows for bigger graphics and greater visual impact. Further, advertisements have been put at the back of the book, rather than scattered throughout the volume. The most important difference, however, is the level of information contained about the instruments. While the Organ Handbook always had adequate descriptions of the instruments featured at OHS conventions, the 2006 Organ Atlas goes a step further with much more detailed historical and technical information about the organs.

Front matter in the Organ Atlas includes letters of congratulation from New York politicians and national and international organ groups. The Organ Atlas is divided into sections covering Saratoga Springs; Albany; Schenectady. Watervliet, and Troy; "Outlying Communities"; Cooperstown; Southwestern Vermont; and a historical survey of organs in Saratoga Springs by Stephen Pinel. …

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