Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards

Recordings by Eastman Alumni

Organ Music of René Louis Becker, Vol. 3
Damin Spritzer
Damin Spritzer records her third volume of organ works of René Louis Becker (1882-1956), the prolific Alsatian-American composer, teacher, and organist who worked 52 years in St. Louis, Illinois, and Michigan. The CD is the first recording of the beloved and now completed 1938 Kimball organ at St. John‘s Cathedral, Denver, its original 96 ranks intact and restored, with the antiphonal added as planned in 1938 but not installed until 2016, with 17 ranks. The organ is featured on the cover of the July 2017 TAO. Damin Spritzer’s previous two volumes of Becker’s works received stellar reviews.

Universe of Poetry
Michael Unger
Michael Unger, 2008 First Prize Winner of the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance, plays brilliantly a diverse program of works on the Paul Fritts & Company organ, Opus 26, 2008 built for Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester, New York. The Fritts organ, with 53 stops on three manuals and pedal, plays literature spanning several centuries, all of it handled with secure aplomb by Unger, who, in addition to the NYACOP Prize, has gained many other awards in venues on several continents.

Organ Ovations and Improvisations Organ Ovations and Improvisations
Tom Trenney
Tom Trenney, winner of the 2006 AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation, improvises two suites on hymn tunes and plays works by Bach, Schumann, Parker, Lemare, and Mendelssohn on a new three-manual organ by Patrick J. Murphy & Associates at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Baltimore.
Organ Recital: Michael Unger Organ Recital: Michael Unger
Michael Unger
The music chosen for Michael Unger’s début Naxos recital follows a kind of spiritual progression from death to life, beginning with a dramatic baroque depiction of death’s dance (Praeludium
in E, Buxtehude), and concluding with an exuberant twentieth-century affirmation of religious incarnation (Dieu parmi nous, Messiaen).
Mackerel Sky Mackerel Sky
Matt Curlee and Neos
Neos gathers five musicians, each with broad backgrounds in classical, jazz, popular, ethnic, and improvisatory forms, and trains it on the task of creating something entirely unexpected. Founder and artistic director Matt Curlee has developed a reputation as a fresh voice in the organ world. Winner of the 1996 Grand Prix de Chartres, he has performed throughout North America and Europe in live, radio, and TV appearances, with symphony orchestras, and to debut new instruments. Since the release of Neos’ debut album Mackerel Sky in early 2005, Matt has also been recognized for his talents as the producer of a record that has been called “terrific” and “definitely worthy of a Grammy” by reviewers. Matt’s other recording credits include Syntax (2001), and An Austrian Neurotic in Graf Kaiserling’s Court (1999), of which Bernard Durman (The Diapason) wrote, “This CD contains some of the finest Bach playing I have ever heard, from any artist, on any organ, period…prize-winning playing from a prize winning artist!”
Organ Recital: Timothy Olsen Organ Recital: Timothy Olsen
Timothy Olsen (MM ’01)
First Prize winner of the 2002 AGO National Young Artists Competition, Olsen presents a recital on the Fisk organ at Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York on this Laureate Series recording on Naxos.Praeludium in E minor / Bruhns
4 Variations on “Unter der Linden grune” / Sweelinck
Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 / Bach
A Quaker Reader / Rorem
Chorale No. 1 in E major / Franck
Scherzo, Opus 2 / Duruflé
Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor / Reger
Carmen (trans. Edwin H. Lemare) / Bizet
Calm on the listening ear of night: Music for Advent and Christmas Calm on the listening ear of night: Music for Advent and Christmas
Peter DuBois (BM ’80) and Chris Lane with the Chancel Choir of Third Presbyterian ChurchCalm on the listening ear of night… these simple words by the 19th century American hymn-writer Edmund Hamilton Sears capture much of the mystery and beauty of Christmas. The seasons of Advent and Christmas have inspired some of the most beautiful and spiritual choral music across the centuries. This CD presents some favorite selections for these high seasons of the liturgical year.
Blending Voices: Organ Music from Belgium Blending Voices: Organ Music from Belgium
Katherine Pardee (MM ’84, DMA ’87)
Toccata (in D-flat), Op. 104 / Joseph Jongen
Priere, Op. 37, No. 3
Sonata Eroica, Op. 94
Improvisata (1907) / Edgar Tinel
Sonata in G Minor, Op. 29
Fantaisie en la majeur / César Franck
Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur Ave Maris Stella, Op. 28 / Flor Peeters
Bach on the Fritts Bach on the Fritts
Jonathan Biggers (DMA ’91)
Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C
Partita Sei Gegrüsset, Jesu gütig
Preludes & Fugues in A & a
Passacaglia in c
Chorale Preludes Schm¨cke dich & Wenn wir in höchsten
Organ Under Glass Organ Under Glass
Peter Baicchi (BM ’92)
Works by Peeters, Vierne, Widor, Bach, and Sawyers on the 293-rank organ with 17,106 pipes at the Crystal Cathedral in California.
In Memoriam William Albright In Memoriam William Albright
Douglas Reed
Douglas Reed plays the Fisk op. 110 at Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama, Japan. The program includes two world premieres, and Michael Barone is narrator of the “King of Instruments,” which is recorded a second time with Japanese narration. This two-CD set is the first in a series of recordings that will eventually include all of Albright’s solo and ensemble organ music.
Max Reger and Historicist Modernisms Max Reger and Historicist Modernisms
Antonius Bittmann
The first comprehensive English-language account of Reger’s oeuvre, this book emphatically revises misconceptions about his music. As Bittmann argues, Reger did not turn to historical models in order to preserve or reconstitute antiquated musical languages; rather, he appropriated the musical past for the most modern ends. Taking a strong interest in reception history, Bittmann reassesses Reger’s work by drawing on a wide array of interdisciplinary sources in literary criticism, philosophy, and cultural history.
OAR-925BeckerSpritzer350 Organ Music of René Louis Becker
Damin Spritzer
René Louis Becker, born and educated in Strasbourg, France, as the son of a prominent organist, moved to the USA at age 21 in 1904 and taught music, composed prolifically, and worked as an organist in St. Louis, Illinois, and Michigan for 52 years. First recording of the restored 1789 Isnard /1890 Cavaillé-Coll organ in Pithiviers, France.

Organ Music of René Louis Becker, vol. 2
Damin Spritzer
Many selections on this disc are the first recordings of these works. As a companion to Spritzer’s first disc of Becker’s music (Raven OAR-925), this volume offers pieces truly among the most sophisticated and varied of his organ compositions. Recorded on the Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Cathedral of Sainte-Croix in Orléans, France.

heiller Organ Works of Anton Heiller
Mark Steinbach (MM ’87, DMA ’90)
Steinbach performs Heiller’s recently discovered Passacaglia of 1940 and other Heiller compositions on the ideal “period instrument” for this program: the 1962 von Beckerath 4-manual/66-stop mechanical-action organ in the reverberant acoustic of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA.  This is the first recording on this landmark mid-centruy instrument since its 2009 restoration by Taylor and Boody. Steinbach, who studied Heiller’s music on a Fulbright Grant in Vienna, has provided extensive notes on the program. Available now at, Amazon, or iTunes.

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