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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Three Chorales by Cesar Frank?”

October 27, 2006

Dear Michael,

Years ago, I had a Nonesuch recording of the Three Chorales by Cesar Frank. The organ used in the recording was the Johnson and Son organ which was located in Boston at that time. I see that it is now located in Mankato Minnesota. I’m glad to see that is alive and well as this was one of my favorite recordings. The organist was, I believe, a man by the name of Robert Conant.

I would like to know if there is a recording of the Three Chorales performed on this organ available today.

Charles Smith
Wheaton, IL

Dear Charles,

The soloist in that Nonesuch recording was, I believe, Thomas Murray, formerly of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Boston, now an esteemed faculty member at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale.

The Johnson & Son organ, relocated to Mankato, Minnesota at Our Lady of Good Counsel convent chapel, is a wonderful instrument in a wonderful room (perhaps enjoying a better acoustic than it did in the original Saint Mary’s Church, Boston).

The School Sisters of Notre Dame have issued a CD of their instrument.


Unfortunately, I do not have it close at hand, and know that it does not include the three Franck Chorales, but it might include one of them (perhaps #3).



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