** Travel Log: Utah all over again
I have just returned from a business trip to Utah. My training was in
Orem and I stayed in a hotel in Provo. While in "organ country", I
arranged some practice time at BYU through Richard Elliott, the Mormon
Tabernacle organist. Professor Don Cook of BYU graciously let me have
the access code to the practice rooms (each room with an instrument is
prorected by a numeric keypad lock) and I spent a blissful several
hours playing three practice instruments. I would have wished to play
the Kenneth Jones teaching tracker, and was allowed, but someone else
was using it at the time. The organs I played were Bigelow, Wilhelm
and Coulter. (see the descriptions below).
The Bigelow, as the most popular organ with the students, clearly
showed signs of use and some ranks weren't in tune. Tonally it wasn't
anything exciting, but that suits its purpose as a practice organ
quite well. Then it was next to the Wilhelm - a sheer delight, clearly
being used less and in a better condition, with a powerful piercing
Regal which becomes enjoyable once the cabinet doors are closed. The
Coulter's specification puzzled me. It has just 2 stops in the pedal,
a very quiet 16' Bourdon, and a 8ft Quintadena. The only reed is a
Regal (again... somebody must like Regals over there). For playing
Bach chorales this combination proved impractical, unless I
misunderstood something. The Quintadena is too rich harmonically to
work with Regal, and using 8ft from the manual on pedal would result
in occasional loss of sound as they would share the same note.
The next evening, before my flight, I stopped by Temple Square in Salt
Lake City. The Tabernacle is still closed for renovation, and I went
to listen to a BYU junior student recital at the Assembly Hall. I was
touched as the organist's brother led the attendees in prayer for the
organist, Mark Spencer Campbell, to "let him perform to his good
abilities". Unfortunately the recital was not too great. He played
through Vierne Symphony no.2; The Allemande (variations on the melody
Bruynsmedelyn) by Scheidt was good, actually my favorite in the whole
recital. Mr. Campbell played with sensitive touch and refreshing
registrations. The JS Bach trio sonata # 6 was pretty bad - after
stumbling through the first 2 movements, the organist judiciously
omitted the third and plunged straight into Dupre Prelude and Fugue
op. 7 no 1.
After the recital I made a quick run over to the Conference Center
where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is now practicing, to listen a bit
and say "hi" to Richard Elliott. The Choir sounded wonderful, but I
only had a few minutes' time before having to take a cab to the
airport. Sadly, no one would let me come down and say hello, since
Richard Elliott was accompanying the Choir up on stage.
I love visiting Utah, this is already my second time there. Not only
is it a beutiful place, but each time I go, I try to tie my trip to
something "organic", and the people who make it happen are always
gracious and glad to provide opportunities for me to play.
** Seeking a CD
A reader wrote in asking whether anyone knows how to obtain Dorothy
Papadakos' CD, "Dorothy over the Rainbow". This CD is not available at
Amazon. I think I remember St. John the Divine used to sell it, but I
was unable to find any info on their website. Can you help?
On the lighter side...
** Heavy Nintendo on the Organ!
University of Florida graduate Harold Rodriguez recorded music from
Nintendo games and more on the organ. Follow the link to view the
Today's Organ Stop is: