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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

1866 Hook organ at South Parish Congregational
1866 Hook organ at South Parish Congregational

The Maine Idea

On this week’s Pipedreams program, we’ll visit the far northeastern United States to listen to some historic organs in Maine. We’ll hear instruments from Lewiston, Newcastle, Augusta, and Bangor, where at Saint John’s Roman Catholic Church a superb 140-year-old instrument by the famous Hook Brothers of Boston still stirs the soul. Plus, we’ll stop by Merrill Auditorium at Portland’s City Hall where the recently renovated 1912 Kotzschmar Organ, America’s first municipal pipe organ, entertains thousands visitors each year. Ray Cornils, the Kotzschmar organist, shares some insights and spreads the word about special summer events keeping popular interest in the pipe organ alive throughout the state.

From up north and down east, our music’s from the state of Maine. It’s The Maine Thing this week on Pipedreams.

Program Broadcast dates:

  • June 11, 2001

Music played in the program

JOSEPH BONNET: Variations de Concert, Opus 1 –Ray Cornils (1912 Austin/Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME) Pro Organo CD 7050

FELIX MENDELSSOHN: Andante with Variations –Ray Cornils (1893 Hook & Hastings/St. Patrick RCC, Lewiston, ME) OHS CD-92

J. FRANK FRYSINGER: Liberty March –Earl Miller (1888 Hutchings/St. Andrew Episcopal, Newcastle, ME) OHS CD-92

TRADITIONAL: Russian Hymn, God, the Omnipotent –Rachelen Lien (1901 E.W. Lane/Unitarian-Universalist, Saco, ME) OHS CD-92

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Andante sostenuto, from Symphony Number 9 –Kevin Birch (1860 E. & G.G. Hook/St. John RCC, Bangor, ME) Pipedreams Archive recorded May 29, 1993

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS: Fantasy in E-flat. LOUIS VIERNE: Andantino; from Pieces in Free Style; Carillon de Westminster, Opus 54, number 6 –Dana Robinson (1860 E. & G.G. Hook/St. John RCC, Bangor, ME) Pipedreams Archive recorded May 28, 1993

LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN: Adagio for Mechanical Organ –Peter Sykes (1866 E. & G.G. Hook/South Parish Congregational, Augusta, ME) OHS CD-92

EDWIN H. LEMARE: Toccata & Fugue in d, Opus 98 –Thomas Murray (1912 Austin/Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME) AFKA SK-515

ALFRED HOLLINS: Allegretto grazioso. EDWIN H. LEMARE: Marche heroique, Opus 74 –Frederick Hohman (1912 Austin/Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME) Pro Organo CD 7018

The recently renovated Kotzschmar Organ built by Austin Organs of Hartford, Connecticut in 1912 at Portland’s reconfigured Merrill Auditorium is the first ‘municipal organ’ in the United States, and one of only two still in regular use. The other, also coincidentally an Austin, is at Balboa Park, San Diego. It is featured in programs throughout the year, as well as in a sequence of lively Kotzschmar Summer Concerts which run most Tuesdays and some Thursdays from June 12 through August 30, sponsored by the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ. Bangor recitals begin early in July. In each case, you are welcome!

Listeners in Maine are particularly encouraged to share your enthusiasm for organ music with others, and to show your appreciation of local Pipedreams broadcasts by contributing to Maine Public Radio