Professor David Yearsley reflects on the effects of climate on Cornell's historic organs:
“Arbor eram vilis quondam sed viva tacebam / Nunc bene si tangor mortua dulce son” counts as one of the most lovely and lengthy of the Latin mottos used to decorate the inside of the lids of seventeenth-century Flemish harpsichords. It translates: “I was once an ordinary tree, although living I was silent; now, though dead, if I am well played, I sound sweetly.” The same defense of the human improvement on nature could well adorn the largest and oldest of the keyboard instruments—the organ—though with the crucial addition, somewhere amongst the branches and thorns, of the Latin syntax, of chalicitis (ore) or perhaps metallum used to make the pipes that actually produce the sound. These gleaming columns are the first to catch the attention of the eye. Most organs have wooden pipes, too, normally placed out of sight behind the shining façade; but the pipes of a few celebrated organs—most famously that from the early seventeenth century in Frederiksborg Castle ( http://www.thomaswikman.org/images/1b.jpg) in Denmark—are made exclusively of wood.
The Spring 2013 organ concert series begins this week with the first Midday Music for Organ recital on Wednesday January 30th at 12:30pm. University Organist Annette Richards presents a program of music that might have been heard at the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin, c. 1755, with works by Dieterich Buxtehude, C. P. E. Bach, J. S. Bach and the King’s sister, avid organ enthusiast and music collector Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia.
Professor of organ at the Hochschule für Kunste in Bremen (Germany), Edoardo Bellotti is in the U.S. this fall as a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music. He will present a recital at Cornell on the new baroque organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel on Friday, November 16, at 8:00 PM. "Echoes of Italy" will feature works by superstars of the 17th and early 18th centuries--written both by Italian composers and Germans inspired by Italy--with fantasies, concertos, and toccatas, closing with J. S. Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, BWV 564.
Cornell's new baroque organ has become the world's first organ with multiple historic wind systems, using a technique organ designer Munetaka Yokota perfected on a research instrument at the Göteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
With simple manual adjustments, organists can authentically re-create the wind systems of organs from the 15th to the beginning of the 19th century from north and central Germany on the instrument.
An exciting concert festival and symposium exploring music for the
baroque organ in America comprise this year’s Atkinson Forum in American
Studies. The Forum will be held Friday and Saturday, September 21 and
22, in Anabel Taylor Chapel, Sage Chapel, and Barnes Hall, and will
include four concerts and two panel sessions.
On April 3, Anabel Taylor Chapel will be the site of a unique
performance event: renowned organist Hans Davidsson will perform on
Cornell’s new baroque organ while three professional dancers—two of them
his sons--interpret the music.