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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Lost or Found Chords?”

January 5, 2007

Dear Michael,

Would/could you identify what you think are the most famous/recognizable organ chords in classical music? I have always loved the chords at the beginning of The Phantom of the Opera but I do realize that composition is not considered ‘classical’ music.

Love your program –wish I could hear it more often.

Jill Haas
Charleston, MO

Dear Jill,

By ‘chords’ perhaps you intend ‘what bit of organ music is most instantly recognizable’, and that would be the beginning of Bach’s Toccata in D-minor (S. 565). A close second would be the Toccata in F from Charles-Marie Widor’s Organ Symphony No. 5. But organs play all sorts of things, so perhaps we ought to include the Bridal Procession from Wagner’s Lohengrin and Wedding March from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. And once that door is open, there are dozens of other things. But I’d bet that Bach out-polls Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Phantom by a long shot, even though its more than 300 years old.

As for listening to the program more often, you can hear at any time…24/7…on the website…www.pipedreams.org.

Thanks for writing.



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