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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

1998 Casavant organ at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall
1998 Casavant organ at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall

Chicago Celebration

Music for organ and orchestra enjoys an added spice at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. This week we visit the recent 44-stop Casavant pipe organ to evaluate its considerable potential. Consultant Jeff Weiler talks about its varied background and why, despite a modest specification, it does everything an organ must do in a symphonic space. Soloist David Schrader plays colorful solos and teams up with the Grant Park Symphony for works by Samuel Barber, Walter Piston, Leo Sowerby and Michael Colgrass.

American concert halls have come to realize that the room is not complete without the presence of the King of Instruments. Understand why and join in a Chicago Celebration: the Casavant organ at Orchestra Hall.

Audio Complete Show

Program Broadcast dates:

  • October 21, 2002

Music played in the program

WALTER PISTON: Prelude & Allegro for Organ and Strings [1943]

MARCEL DUPRÉ: Variations on a Noël, Opus 20

LEO SOWERBY: Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra [1951]

MICHAEL COLGRASS: The Whispering Voices of Spirits, from Snow Walker, Organ Concerto [1990]

SAMUEL BARBER: Toccata Festiva, Opus 36

All organ-and-orchestra performances come from the instrument’s CD debut from Cedille CD-9063. Carlos Kalmar conducts the Grant Park Orchestra. Included are additional comments from Chicago Symphony executive director Henry Fogel, organ consultant Jeff Weiler, and acoustical consultant Dawn Schuette of Kirkegaard Associates.