Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments
September 25, 2012
Your intro each week on Pipedreams refers to APOBA serving…residences. Are there recordings (CDs) taken in people's homes of their pipe organs?
Technically,the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (aka Mrs. Jack Gardner's Palace) was her home. Whether her husband, the infamous Jack, approved of the project or even lived there has been long debated. I attended University near the Fens in Back Bay Boston in the late 1950s. Her quirky art collection fascinated but the music was magnificent. There was a music room seating 100-150 and at one end a raised stage and a pipe organ. Small by cathedral standards it was well played and a noble Sunday afternoon destination for a poor student during a long New England winter.
Frank Lloyd Wright's classic Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, IL also has a music room. The living room or parlor could be converted for recitals. My recollection is that organ pipes adorned the walls. I can't determine whether they ever functioned. The structure housed a local law firm most of its post-WWII life and was extensively modified (wrecked) before being donated to a conservancy during the last 20 years.
Wherever there are residences with pipe organs I assume access would be a problem. Few owners with the necessary wealth want commoners in their abode. Likewise, the challenges of decent recording conditions I imagine are daunting.
But back to my inquiry about private residences with organs and recordings – what's available commercially?
Dear Clark,Before the advent of hi-fi, the most over-the-top 'home entertainment system' was the self-playing house organ, though some of the very wealthy could afford to have a resident organist, too.