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MP3 Arlan Wareham - Old English Organ Music

From lilting pastorales and a siciliano or two, to stately diapason movements, to energetic fugues and voluntaries, this album has a full selection (nearly an hour) of English organ music from the 18th century.

23 MP3 Songs in this album (58:36) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Organ, CLASSICAL: Baroque

About the music

This album is different from all my previous ones in several ways. First, it consists entirely of old English organ music. None of the others have ANY English music. Second, it is recorded entirely on the historic 1721 Gottfried Silbermann organ of the St. Georgenkirche in Rötha, Saxony, Germany. Only one track from all my previous albums was recorded on this fine instrument (my Khanukah Medley on the album "Aliyah"). Third, unlike all my other albums, except "Big Bach Bash", this album contains none of my own compositions or arrangements. Finally, this is the only album where all the music comes from a single book ("Old English Organ Music for Manuals"), one that I bought many years ago.

Unlike on the Continent, English organs remained fairly small until the 19th century, and pedals were almost unheard of. Although the Silbermann organ used for these recordings does have a pedal division, it consists of only a few stops and is thus not a complete division. The pedal was not used at all on this album, since all the music was written for manuals only.

The music, of course, was adapted to the instruments available. These are not grand works in the style of Bach, or even Buxtehude. Most of the pieces are essentially incidental music, intended to be used at the beginning or end of the church service or as a short interlude between sections. Indeed, this music still is very useful for this purpose, and, as my well-worn book suggests, I have used many of these compositions numerous times as preludes, offertories, and postludes.

About the organist

I started piano lessons before I even started school, meaning that I actually learned to read music before I learned to read! My first music teacher, Mrs. Rittenhouse, instilled a love of music in me that remains to this day. When she became too old and had to quit teaching, I took lessons from Mrs. Hempel. She helped me continue to advance my knowledge of music theory, my piano-playing skills, and my ability to improvise beyond the written music. My third piano teacher, Mr. Hicks, was also my first organ teacher. He taught me to love classical music, and it was under his tutelage that I gave my first concert, a program that consisted of all 24 of Chopin''s preludes, when I was only 16 years old.

A year before I started college, I began studying organ with Mr. Donald Vaughn, and I continued to study with him throughout my college years. From him I learned an immense amount about organs, about sensitive and musical playing styles, and about music theory. I can never play an organ piece without thinking of the methods of interpretation that he taught me.

From my earliest years, I had an interest in composing music. I continued to develop this when I was in college, taking several courses in music composition. In particular, I learned a great deal from my teacher, the late Perry Beach, who was himself an excellent composer, having studied with Nadia Boulanger. Although none of my compositions or arrangements are included on this album, you can hear many of them on my other albums.

In 1975, I received my B.A. degree from La Sierra University (then known as the La Sierra Campus of Loma Linda University), with majors in both mathematics and music. In graduate school, however, I studied only math, earning a B.S. from the University of Arkansas in 1977 and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside, in 1980. I did study some music during those years, though, including organ lessons at the U of A and carillon lessons at UCR. In fact, I played the carillon at my UCR graduation ceremony.

I have served as organist at many different churches of various denominations, including multiple years at the First English Lutheran Church of San Bernardino, California, the Presbyterian Church of Springdale, Arkansas, and the First Congregational Church of Corona, California. At the latter, I subsequently served as choir director, as well.

About the organ

The organ used exclusively on this album was built by Gottfried Silbermann in 1721 in the St. Georgenkirche in Rötha, in the German state of Saxony. Sibermann achieved great success in the 18th century in organ building and in actually making money from it. At one point, he had a virtual monopoly on construction of pipe organs in that part of Germany. His instruments are famous for their bright, silvery sound. He was also a pioneer in the development of the early piano.

Although this is a German organ, it was built around the very time that the music on this album was written. It showcases the beautiful sonorities of these pieces very nicely.

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