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March 9, 2018, 12:15 pm Eastern
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Guest recitalist, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, N.C.

« Making Music City Mixture: An unforeseen epilogue | Main | Making Music City Mixture : Part VI »
Wednesday
Aug152012

Making Music City Mixture : Part VII

Part 7 of a multi-part narrative of my new recording on mechanical action organs of Nashville. Music City Mixture is available here.

Wightman Chapel, Scarritt-Bennett Center

Homepage: http://www.scarrittbennett.org/default.asp
Organ photos: http://www.PhotographyByStein.com/nashvilleorgans/wightmanchapel/wightmanchapmain.htm
Organ specifications: http://www.nashvilleago.org/AreaOrgans/Specs/Scarritt.htm
Organ builder: http://Casavant.ca/

I love neo-Gothic college campuses, and Scarritt-Bennett used to be a college. I’m glad the buildings are still being lovingly used, even if not for education. The chapel remains busy for weddings (Jennie reported more than 70 one year), and the organ remains in decent shape, despite having some years on it and not a lot of budget to keep it young.

While Jennie was enthusiastic about my recording there, she warned me as gently as she could that the Casavant might not sound very good these days. When I had played it for a few minutes on Monday, I concurred. But I played some more and discovered that most of the problems lie in the reeds (dirty and old) and in the upper work (Orgelbewegung), which I could easily avoid. When I chose to stay primarily at 4-foot and below, the organ sprang to life. The Buxtehude Praeludium took on a fresh assertiveness, and the Sweelinck Variants, recorded there purely on a lark, very nearly replaced the take at St. Andrew’s! You can hear the Wightman take here:

Finally, just for fun, here are some clips of videos Susan captured during practice times:

I’m practicing Bobo at First Presbyterian, d’Aquin at Covenant Presbyterian, and the Gigout Scherzo (not recorded) at Covenant Presbyterian.

* * *

I am glad to have extracted and captured some of Nashville’s beauty on this recording and in these supplemental materials. I hope all these organs have been given a stronger voice for themselves and a pleasant hearing for you on Music City Mixture.

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