|This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.|
It is our custom during Lent to program organ music, and this year I have two posts (this one, and another next week) where we will explore baroque and renaissance organ repertoire, performed (unashamedly, might I add) with “big organ” bombast.
Before getting started with this week’s post, I want to “plug” a blog that I have encountered last year, The Shellackophile, which presents “Recordings of classical music from the 78-rpm era (mostly)”. Today’s musical shares and some of the commentary come from this fine effort by a like-minded music collector and enthusiast.
George Dorrington Cunningham (1878 - 1948) was an important English organist and teacher, who counted among his students the two other eminent British organists on deck this week, E. Power Biggs and George Thalben-Ball. There is no doubt that there is a long tradition of organ music in Britain, and it probably dates back to one of the great organ composers of the Baroque era, Georg Fredertic Handel, who elected to become a British subject in 1726.
The Handel organ concertos, composed in London between 1735 and 1751, were written as interludes for performances of his oratorios. They were the first works of their kind for organ with chamber orchestra accompaniment and served as a model for later composers.
The Shellackophile writes:
George Frideric HANDEL (1685 –1759)
Organ Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat, Op. 4, No. 2 [HWV 290]
Organ Concerto No. 4 in F, Op. 4, No. 4 [HWV 292]
G. D. Cunningham (William Hill & Sons organ, Birmingham Town Hall)
City of Birmingham Orchestra
George Weldon, conducting
[Recorded June 4, 1945; English Columbia DX 1358 – 1360]
Concerto No. 13 in F Major ("The Cuckoo and the Nightingale") [HWV 295]
E. Power Biggs (Aeolian-Skinner organ, Germanic Museum, Harvard University)
Arthur Fiedler's Sinfonietta
[Recorded March 17, 1940; RCA Victor set M-733]
Organ Concerto No. 9 in B-Flat, Op. 7, No. 3 [HWV 308]
(arr. Henry J. Wood)
Thomas Augustine ARNE (1710 –1778)
First movement (Allegro moderato) from Organ Concerto No. 6 in B-Flat (ca. 1751)
(Arr. George Thalben-Ball)
George Thalben-Ball (unspecified organ [Handel], St-Mark's Chursch, London [Arne])
Walter Susskind, conducting
[Recorded June 4, Sept. 23, and Oct. 11, 1948; HMV C 3814 – 3816]