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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

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The grandly spacious interior of the Cincinnati Museum Center/Union Depot Rotunda…note the WPA murals that outline the city's history, also the metal grills at floor level on either side of the central walkway (toward the right), behind which are the main organ chambers, and the 'window' above the doorway (on the far left of this photo), which hides the Antiphonal division. Now you understand about the resonance of the space!

Music In the Museum

…performances on the unique 1929 Skinner pipe organ that graces the rotunda of the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Audio Complete Show 1 hr 58 Min

Audio 1608 Hour 1 59:00 Min

Audio 1608 Hour 2 59:00 Min

For the convenience of those of you with mobile devices, now you can listen to our PIPEDREAMS audio at http://www.yourclassical.org!

Program Broadcast dates:

Links and Resources:

Music played in the program

Hour 1

AARON COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man. GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Forza del Destino OverturePeter Richard Conte, organist

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prélude a l’apres-midi d'un Faune. BÉLA BARTÓK: 6 Romanian Folk Dances. GUSTAV MAHLER: Urlicht, fr Symphony No. 2Stacey Rishoi, mezzo-soprano; Jean-Baptiste Robin, organist

ROBERT ELMORE: Night Song; Fantasy on Nursery TunesPeter Richard Conte, organist

Hour 2

J. S. BACH: Toccata & Fugue in d, BWV 565. CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS: Rhapsody No. 3Thomas Murray, organist

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Prelude in c#, Op. 3, no. 2. JEAN-BAPTISTE ROBIN: Cercles LointainsJean-Baptiste Robin, organist

FIRMIN SWINNEN: Aria –Peter Richard Conte, organist

JOSEPH JONGEN: Sonata Eroica, Op. 94 –Thomas Murray, organist

The Music in the Museum series continues with 7:30 p.m. Monday performances by Benjamin Sheen, with flutist Randolph Bowman (February 29) and Thomas Murray, with the Cincinnati Choral Society (April 18).


The E. M. Skinner organ at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Depot is a felicitous blend of two previous instruments, the primary one (Skinner Opus 660, 45 ranks) was formerly installed at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia, PA.  It now speaks from custom-built chambers hidden left-and-right behind grills on either side of the hallway and stairs leading to the still-functional Amtrak arrival/departure areas.  Those grills formerly fronted the Union Depot’s ticket windows.  To this was added, as an antiphonal division, a smaller organ formerly in the Cincinnati residence of Powell Crosley, Jr. (Skinner Opus 726, 18 ranks, augmented), which now speaks from a new chamber hidden behind a window above the entrance to the History Museum.  Both instruments were built the same year as the construction of Union Depot, 1929.  The entire organ is ‘under expression’ (in swell-boxes), giving it an extraordinary dynamic spectrum, from faint whisper to commanding roar!

The Music in the Museum series continues with 7:30 p.m. Monday performances by Benjamin Sheen, with flutist Randolph Bowman (February 29) and Thomas Murray, with the Cincinnati Choral Society (April 18).

Several recordings of the instrument have been issued.  One features Jean-Baptiste Robin (Brilliant Classics 94726). Three additional albums, of performances by Thomas Murray (Rotunda Recordings 001) and Peter Richard Conte (Rotunda Recordings 002 and 003) are available through the Museum Gift Shop and the Organ Historical Society online catalog (http://www.ohscatalog.org)

Cincinnati Museum Center organ curator (and creator!) Harley Piltingsrud talks about some of the special precautions involved in installing the vintage Skinner pipe organs in the Union Depot's rotunda. Listen here!

 

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