Bryan Dunnewald | Bryan At Bryn Athyn

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Bryan At Bryn Athyn

by Bryan Dunnewald

The premiere recording of the 2014 E.M. Skinner / Kegg organ at Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Featuring a diverse collection of works showcasing the instrument's breadth of color, including the recording premiere of Calvin Hampton's First Suite for Organ (1977).
Genre: Classical: Organ
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Comes Autumn Time (1916)
7:26 $0.99
2. Adagio and Fugue in C Minor, K. 546 (Trans. J. Guillou)
8:24 $0.99
3. Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, Op. 7, No. 3
7:26 $0.99
4. Choral No. 2 in B Minor, M. 39
13:41 $0.99
5. First Suite for Organ: I. Fanfares (1977)
4:34 $0.99
6. First Suite for Organ: II. Antiphon (1977)
6:32 $0.99
7. First Suite for Organ: III. Toccata (1977)
5:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Performer:

Bryan Dunnewald, of Arvada, Colorado, is a student in the studio of Alan Morrison at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he pursues a Bachelor’s degree in organ performance. In May 2014, he graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, receiving the Academy’s highest awards in the arts, academics, citizenship and character. Bryan is a composer, having written works for ensembles and soloists alike; he also enjoys improvisation and has accompanied dance classes (entirely improvised) for the Interlochen Dance Company. Bryan is the 2013 recipient of the first prize, high school division, and the hymn-playing award at the national Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Competition. He has performed in many states and venues, and on National Public Radio, as a soloist and in collaboration with large ensembles, such as the Colorado Symphony. In addition to Alan Morrison, his teachers have included Dr. Martha Sandford-Heyns, Thomas Bara, Steve Larson and Dr. Joseph Galema.

The Pieces:

Though few outside the organ world know him today, Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) was one of the most popular composers of his time. His works were performed regularly by leading soloists and orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Sowerby was intrigued by the organ music of César Franck and, after studying piano and theory, he began organ lessons in 1910. He earned his Masters in Music from the American Conservatory in Chicago and, in 1921, he became the first American to win the Prix de Rome. Sowerby returned to teach at the American Conservatory and served as Choirmaster at the Cathedral of Saint James, Chicago. During this time, he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, became the first American Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music, and received a Pulitzer Prize. After retiring in 1962, Sowerby went to the National Cathedral in Washington to found the College of Church Musicians, serving as Director until his death in 1968. He composed over 500 works, covering almost every genre except opera and dance. Comes Autumn Time was one of Sowerby’s early pieces, yet we can see his more mature style emerging. He draws from jazz, folk music, concert and sacred traditions to create this concert overture for organ, which he orchestrated two years later, premiered by the New York Symphony Society. The title and inspiration for the piece comes from a short poem by Bliss Carman entitled, “Autumn:”

Now when the time of fruit and grain is come,
When apples hang above the orchard wall,
And from the tangle by the roadside stream
A scent of wild grapes fills the racy air,
Comes Autumn with her sunburnt caravan,
Like a long gypsy train with trappings gay
And tattered colors of the Orient,
Moving slow-footed through the dreamy hills.
The woods of Wilton at her coming wear
Tints of Bokhara and of Samarcand:
The maples glow with their Pompeian red,
The hickories with burnt Etruscan gold;
And while the crickets fife along her march,
Behind her banners burns the crimson sun.

– – –

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) is not necessarily known for his fugues, nor for his compositions written primarily in a minor key. Yet here we have an example of both, in the dark and rhythmic Adagio and Fugue in C Minor, K. 546. Mozart began studying the works of Bach and Handel in Vienna, introduced to him by his patron, Baron Gottfried van Swieten. When Mozart’s wife, Constanze, heard Bach’s fugues, she “fell quite in love with them” and insisted Mozart write some of his own. From this point forward, Mozart’s compositions demonstrated the profound influence of counterpoint, seen particularly clearly in his later works such as the Requiem and “Jupiter” Symphony. This piece, K. 546, began life as a fugue for two pianos (K. 426); five years later, during the same summer in which he composed his final three symphonies, Mozart rearranged it for string orchestra and added the adagio. Like a French overture, the grand adagio gives way to a fugue which treats its subject in nearly every possible way – backwards, forwards, upside-down, inverted, major, minor, etc. The transcription heard on this recording is from 1974 by Jean Guillou, noted French organist and composer.

– – –

Marcel Dupré (1886-1971), a “Paganini of the organ,” advanced the instrument’s technique to new levels through his compositions and performances. He was a child prodigy who studied and later taught at the Paris Conservatoire, won the Prix de Rome, and was well-known for giving over 2,000 organ recitals throughout Australia, Europe, and North America. While preparing for the Prix de Rome, Dupré composed these Trois Preludes and Fugues, Op. 7, to challenge his own technique, an example of the precocious young Dupré who would later turn into the pedagogical professor. The Prelude and Fugue in G Minor begins with fast flutes accompanying a solo string playing a slow chorale-like melody. This expands to full strings outlining the chorale harmony – between seven and eight voices shared between manual and pedal – still with flutes underneath. The fugue opens with its own gigue subject, after which Dupré begins to sneak in the prelude theme, first as a baseline beneath the relentless rhythmic figures above. Eventually the two subjects are developed together as the prelude theme with harmony returns against the fugue subject in the pedal. Their entrances grow closer and closer until the final stretto, when the subjects are heard one measure apart in the crashing climax of Dupré’s ingenious double fugue, which stretches to the highest note on the French organ.

– – –

The French organ school of the twentieth century, to which we owe a great deal of important repertoire, is generally considered to have begun with César Franck (1822-1890). This Belgian-born organist, composer, and teacher influenced a generation of musicians including Louis Vierne, Olivier Messiaen and Gabriel Fauré. The Trois Chorals were Franck’s last completed works and are staples in the repertoire. The second chorale, a passacaglia in form, is the most profound of the three and is also the most complex in compositional technique. The three themes are developed extensively in Franck’s signature cyclical manner and are brought together for a powerful buildup of tension that is released only at the end of the journey. There is much debate as to whether the opening passacaglia theme or the B Major Vox Humana theme (heard at the middle and close) is the “choral.” Whichever the listener chooses, they are beautifully connected in one of the great masterpieces of organ literature.

– – –

Calvin Hampton (1938-1984) was one of the more eccentric figures on the New York organ scene. He was a praised recitalist, choirmaster, and trained rock musician, with degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Syracuse University. In Manhattan, he was Choirmaster and Organist at Calvary Church, where he created the wildly popular “Fridays at Midnight” concert series. Hampton was never afraid to try new things – sending giant model stars and space ships down high tight-wires at Calvary, or dressing up as a Werewolf, Frankenstein, or other character for his concerts anytime of year, not just on Halloween. His diverse programming and ideas about what a concert should be attracted a wide variety of audience members to his performances, especially children. Aside from his organ works, Hampton wrote a number of chamber and orchestral pieces, including a concerto for Saxophone Quartet premiered by the NY Philharmonic, and hymn tunes found in many American hymnals today. He died at age 45, one of the first composers to succumb to AIDS. Hampton’s First Suite for Organ was written during the middle of his tenure at Calvary and is a most excellent example of his compelling style. Out of print for more than ten years, this is the suite’s recording premiere. “Fanfares” shows off Hampton’s desire for variety, a trait not found in a typical fanfare, by moving through various musical ideas that are tied together through rhythmic motifs. Perhaps one of the most dreamy and improvisatory pieces of American organ music, the “Antiphon” combines warm and steady accompaniment with a clear, adventurous, and free-flowing solo. Hampton’s experience as a rocker shows through in the unabating rhythm and power of the “Toccata.” The piece builds as each theme adds a new harmonic layer, with the crescendo of rhythmic and harmonic complexity reaching its peak just before the work’s epic conclusion.

– Bryan Dunnewald



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