Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sunday morning music


It's time for something completely different.  Instead of focusing on a particular composer, or piece of music, or genre, let's look at a particular musical instrument.  This half-hour documentary focuses on the pipe organ:  specifically, the organ of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.  The church's Web site describes the organ as follows:

The Edith G. and Edward J. Andrew Pipe Organ, built by Quimby Organ Company, is an American symphonic organ with a great deal of influence from the British organ builders T. C. Lewis and Henry Willis.

The instrument includes delicate symphonic colors, including a harp, English horn, and many lush string tones, as well as zymbelsterns (bells) and chimes. Pairing that with its warm foundation tones and expansive color, the Andrew Pipe Organ is able to play any organ literature. It is particularly well suited, however, to accompanying congregational singing and choir anthems, inspiring people and bringing them closer to God with expressions of majesty, sorrow, and joy.

Its console is the only organ in Chicago — and one of the few in all of the U.S. — to have five manuals (keyboards). These keyboards, along with the pedals, control the nine divisions of the organ. These are made up of 143 ranks and 8,343 pipes, making the Andrew Organ the largest pipe organ not only in Chicago but throughout the Midwest. The combination action has 10,000 memory levels.

There's more at the link.

It's a humdinger of an instrument.  See for yourself.

If I'm ever in Chicago, I'll have to make a point of going to Fourth Presbyterian Church to see (and, if possible, hear) it.



Dan said...

The level of both skill and talent to play such an it's full potential, is almost mind boggling.

libertyman said...

Great video and the pipe organ is what makes a church service really meaningful, versus, say, guitars and drums. The cathedral in Chartres has an organ that will give anyone religion.

I wonder if Liene Andreta Kalnciema has played this organ? She does a masterful job on Bach.

Great piece today.

Michael said...

I hope this Church and this magnificent instrument doesn't suffer the fate of France's Notre-Dame. Parts of Chicago seem to be a war zone of lawlessness.

Rob said...

A side question.. anyone know what happened to the blog "a nod to the gods"?

Philip Sells said...

Oh, that's wild - that's the church I photographed across the street from the Hancock when I was there last! I had no idea there was a prized organ inside.

Overload in Colorado said...

There used to be a larger organ in Chicago, the one in the old Chicago Stadium. When it was torn down, the pipes were stored in a warehouse, and reportedly lost in a fire. The console is reportedly with the Maloof brothers, who own sports teams, and casinos.

E. C. said...

I've been (slowly, fitfully) learning the organ from my mother. While most of our church organs these days are electric, the LDS Tabernacle in our town has an old pipe organ. The whole tabernacle is currently under renovation, and I sincerely hope that when that's finished I will someday get a chance to play there, because they have an old pipe organ - nothing to rival this one, but the whole building rings when you pull out all the stops. Try NOT being affected, singing "The Spirit of God" at the top of your lungs with a packed congregation while the floor vibrates beneath your feet!
Gosh, I love organs. They're such awesome instruments.

Scott said...

And if you visit the Phoenix area, you gotta check out "Organ Stop Pizza." A pizza "auditorium" that features another HUGE theater organ that fills the entire building with insruments and pipes, some of which extend to the outside. It was a favorite place for dinner out when we lived there.

Vermont Farm Wife said...

When I was last in the Netherlands a number of years ago, I visited quite a few cathedrals and on one occasion I was there when the organist was practicing. Yes, to the commenter who said it would give anyone religion; chills went up my spine.

When we lived in northeast Pennsylvania we would often go to the 19th Street Cinema in Allentown when one silent movie or other was on offer. The cinema's theater organ, dating from the 1920's just like the cinema itself, was just magnificent, and Don Kinnear was always on hand to play it, an absolute master of the theater organ, sound effects and all. It was the closest we ever got to experiencing a movie the way our grandparents and great-grandparents did. It might come as a surprise to some, but the audiences for silent films in Allentown was not largely old people; there were lots and lots of teens, which I took to be a good thing, and it was standing room only for Buster Keaton's cinematic masterpiece, "The General".