Eight Historic Pipe Organs of the Copper Country
on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan
Christina Harmon, Organist
Though the several rare and even fine historic organs featured on this CD are worth the price of admission, former students and friends of the late Dr. Robert Anderson, renowned for decades as an organ teacher in Dallas at Southern Methodist University, will delight in hearing the very first recording of Anderson's composition, Theme and Variations, created in 1958 and dedicated to Anderson's teacher, Robert Baker.
Other rarely recorded (perhaps for the first time here, recorded on CD) are works by mid-20th-century Americans Everett Titcomb and Powell Weaver, who summered in the Keweenaw and composed the Copper Country Sketches for publication in 1948.
The charming Fantaisie sur un thème norvégien by Jean Langlais is another rarely recorded inclusion on this CD, so appropriate for the 1916 Casavant upon which it is played.
1899 Carl Barckhoff organ, built in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for Carmel Swedish Lutheran Church, Calumet, Michigan,
relocated to the Keweenaw Heritage Center, Calumet, formerly St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church:
J. S. BACH: Concerto in G Major, BWV 592, mvt. 1 Allegro
JEAN SIBELIUS: Finlandia, arranged by Christina Harmon
1874 Garret House organ, built in Buffalo, New York, for the Congregational Church, Calumet, relocated
ca. 1887 to First Congregational Church, Lake Linden, now the Heritage Center of Lake Linden:
SAMUEL LONG: Voluntary in A, Andante – Allegro
1893 Lancashire-Marshall organ, built in Moline, Illinois, for First United Methodist Church, Lake Linden:
CLARENCE EDDY: Festival Prelude on Old Hundredth
1913 Austin Organ Co. organ, built in Hartford, Connecticut, for Trinity Episcopal Church, Houghton:
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Rhosymedre
EVERETT TITCOMB: Regina Coeli
1905 Geo. Kilgen & Son / Chas. C. Kilgen organ, built in St. Louis, Missouri, for St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Calumet,
renamed in 1966 St. Paul the Apostle Church:
Anonymous melody: Ave Maria, arranged by Christina Harmon
POWELL WEAVER: Copper Country Sketches:
Passacaglia (Iron Mountain); Toccata (Lake Superior)
CHRISTINA HARMON: Theme & Variations on The Morning Trumpet
1902 William Schuelke Organ Co., built in Milwaukee for St. Paul Lutheran Church, Laurium. Organ rebuilt 1963:
KARL HEINRICH ZOLLNER: Andante in G
1908 Estey Organ Co. organ, built in Brattleboro, Vermont, for First Presbyterian Church, Calumet, now the Calumet Art Center. Organ enlarged 1960 and 1970:
Anonymous Swedish melody: Koppången
1916 Casavant Frères organ, built in South Haven, Michigan, for St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Lake Linden
ROBERT T. ANDERSON: Theme with Variations First recording of this work
FELIX MENDELSSOHN: Prelude and Fugue in G
JEAN LANGLAIS: Fantaisie sur un thème norvégien, no. 18 of Vingt-quatre pièces pour orgue ou harmonium
ULI ROEVER & MICHAEL KORB: Highland Cathedral (Joel Neves, trumpet)
Photographs, stoplists, brief histories of the organs, and notes on the music are included in 20-page CD booklet.
The Keweenaw and Its Pipe Organs
by Janet Anuta Dalquist
Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is a spine of ancient rock jutting out like a thumb into the southwestern shore of Lake Superior. Every winter, cold air streaming over the lake’s warmer water drops more than 200 inches of snow on the area, creating a winter wonderland. It is a rugged, remote area in both terrain and weather. In the mid-1840s, native copper was found by state geologist Douglas Houghton and reported to the legislature. This was followed by the first real mine rush in American history. Folks of all ethnic groups, Finnish, Croatian, Italian, Slovenian, Swedish, French, Scottish, Welsh and English, among others, swarmed to the area to earn their riches in and out of the mines. Living in the harsh environment was extremely difficult.
However, along with the miners came the engineers, superintendents, managers, lawyers, and financiers from “The East.” The usual social institutions arose, among them, the churches, built for the varying ethnic groups and economic classes. All the people had their songs. Much of their ethnicity was represented in their hymnody. Music in their churches was necessary. Reed organs could serve some, but the Boom Copper folks wanted for their churches what they had had “Out East,” the pipe organ. Acquisition of pipe organs no doubt reflected the wealth of the congregation.
Pipe organs in remote areas were not uncommon. During the Gold Rush in Canada’s Dawson City in the Yukon, the frame Presbyterian Church, built to hold 650 people, housed a pipe organ which had been shipped to the church by steamboat up the Yukon River. Similarly, Calumet became the center of copper mining in the Keweenaw, and the Congregational Church in 1870 purchased a Garret House organ from the manufacturer in Buffalo, New York. The instrument was shipped by boat to Lake Linden, then transported five miles and several hundred feet up the dirt hill to Calumet, which is located along the top of the spine of the peninsula.
In 1887, the congregation brought a larger Hook and Hastings organ from Boston. The Garret House was donated to the Lake Linden church and made the journey back down the hill where it resides today. Sad to say, the Calumet church met with disaster in 1949 when both building and the Hook & Hastings were destroyed by fire. Those Congregationalists joined with the Calumet Presbyterians who had a 1905 Estey organ. Both the Estey, which was rebuilt in 1970, and the 1873 Garret House are still in use and are represented in this CD recording.
Where wood was the major construction material for buildings, there were fires. Several of the Keweenaw’s churches lost their organs in these tragedies. As the population increased and technology improved, more and better-built churches were erected. However, with the boom came bust. As the mining industry decreased and the economy sank, the ethnic churches merged. Churches were left vacant and organs were left to deteriorate from misuse and neglect. Some survived. When the churches of the Lutheran Church of America merged in the mid 1960s, the pastor of the Calumet Swedish Lutheran church dismantled the organ and installed it in an enlarged garage on his property. After the pastor died, his family donated the partially reassembled organ to a local group which was restoring a vacant Catholic church. That organ, the 1899 Barckhoff recorded on this CD, now holds a place of honor in the Keweenaw Heritage Center in Calumet where it is played for concerts, weddings and other events, and echos the music of the ethnic people of the area. Likewise, that Presbyterian-Congregational church, previously mentioned, is now the Calumet Art Center where the 1907/1977 Estey/Verlinden organ is used for recitals and lessons.
The Keweenaw’s pipe organs date from 1870 to 1968 with updating as late as 2006. Thirteen are in regular use. One has an echo organ. Another is a beautiful one-manual, no-pedalboard organ with fully exposed pipes. Several have newer mechanisms replacing the original. Four are original trackers, one of which has had some alterations. Two have hand pumps.
A Fortuitous Collaboration
As children living on the upper peninsula of Michigan, surrounded by Lake Superior, both David Short of Lake Linden and Janet Anuta Dalquist of Menominee were fascinated with the sounds of organs. The two met when Janet served as director of the Suomi College (now Finlandia University) library on the Houghton Canal in Hancock, Michigan, and David was a student there. David eventually became organist at St. Joseph Church in Lake Linden and Jan at Portage Lake United Church (PCUSA/UCC). In 1995, following a Pine Mountain Music Festival, the local organists joined together to form the Organists of Keweenaw, taking the name used locally in reference to Michigan’s upper peninsula. While David led the group in organ crawls throughout the area, Jan collected stoplists and photos. Encouraged by The Diapason editor, Jerome Butera, the catalog was was published in The Diapason in 2007. The Pine Mountain Music Festival’s organ recitalist for 2009 was Christina Harmon, a native of Menominee. As organ recitalist, she took a special interest in the Keweenaw’s organs, resulting in this recording. Christina has toured as a concert organist for many years and is the organist and composer-in-residence at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Jason Alden, organist and recording engineer, has degrees in organ from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is an accomplished organ recitalist and organ builder with the Reuter Organ Company. This project took life when he agreed to produce the recording.
Copyright ©2011 Janet Anuta Dalquist
Notes on the Music
The Bach Concerto in G, BWV 592, is one of two transcriptions for solo organ that J. S. Bach (1685-1750) created in 1713-14 from works composed for other instruments and orchestra by Duke Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar. Bach transcribed five such concertos in the period while he was working in Weimar, the other three originally having been composed by Antonio Vivaldi.
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) composed his symphonic paean to his native Finland in 1899 as part of a larger work. Nationalistic impetus for its creation arose as Imperial Russia sought greater influence over the then-autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. Within about two years, Sibelius revised the “Finland Awakes” section of the larger work a free-standing work to which he gave the name Finlandia. A tune within the work is used for six Christian hymns, an alma mater, and the national anthem of a now-defunct African state, as well as the Finlandia Hymn to which two famous sets of words exist.
Samuel Long (fl. 1745-70) was a London organist of whom little is known, other than his widow published a few compositions by him ca. 1770.
Clarence Eddy (1851-1937) published Festival Prelude on Old 100th in 1909, when his fame as an American concert organist had become international. A native New Englander, he worked in Chicago for many years and eventually resided in Paris, commanding large audiences for annual recitals there and elsewhere in Europe, and serving on the juries of the Paris Conservatoire. Marathon recital tours with hundreds of programs throughout the U. S., even into the 1920s, made Eddy’s name a household word during the organ’s prominence as a mainline means of musical communication.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was a major British musical figure and celebrated composer in many forms, particularly symphonic and choral, and was editor of the English Hymnal (1906), contributing many tunes which have become beloved. His Rhosymedre was published in 1920 with two other preludes on Welsh hymn tunes. He was the great great grandson of the English potter Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795).
Everett Titcomb (1884-1968) was organist for 50 years at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Boston beginning in 1910, where he pursued a fascination with Renaissance polyphony and composed prolifically for organ and choir. Regina Coeli was published in 1940. His family of Unitarians allowed him at age 9 to join the boy choir of St. James’ Episcopal church in his native Amesbury, where he had become the parish organist by age 14.
Ave Maria refers to the Latin words which begin the prayer, “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” The prayer has been set to music using many tunes over the centuries, the well known ones today being tunes by 19th-century composers Charles Gounod (who adpated Bach’s Prelude in C, BWV 846) and Franz Schubert. The tune arranged by Christina Harmon was composed in purposeful anonymity.
Powell Weaver (1890-1951), a native of Clearfiled, Pennsylvania, summered in the Keweenaw and composed the three Copper Country Sketches for publication in 1948. Two of them are recorded, here. He was organist of First Baptist Church, Kansas City. His teachers include Italian composers Pietro Yon and Ottorino Respighi.
The Morning Trumpet is a tune composed by Benjamin F. White (1800-1879) for the poem written in 1793 by John Leland. White, a native of Union County, South Carolina, and musically active in the Baptist church, relocated to Harris County, Georgia, in 1842. He collected and composed hymns which were published in 1844 in the tunebook, The Sacred Harp, in which The Morning Trumpet first appeared. The tunebook was greatly successful and enjoyed many editions. White taught music, established and edited a newspaper beginning in 1858, was elected clerk of the Inferior Court of Harris County in 1858, and was active as a Major in the militia.
Karl Heinrich Zollner (1792-1836) was born in Selesia and settled in Hamburg as a widely-travelled organist, musicologist, composer, and critic. He published several sets of organ works in addition to piano pieces and operas.
Koppången is a Swedish folk song and is also the name of places in Sweden and Norway. Popular English lyrics to this tune begin, “There is silence around me in this peaceful winter night. From the church down in the valley I can see the candlelight,” and it sometimes is performed in churches.
Robert T. Anderson (1934-2009) was born in Chicago and became a famous organist and teacher who taught many organists as professor of organ at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Triptych, of which the Theme with Variations is a part, was composed in 1958 in Frankfurt, Germany, and dedicated “To my esteemed teacher, Robert Baker.” In the period 1957-59, Anderson was studying with Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt. As a graduate teaching assistant to Dr. Anderson and his student, Christina Harmon received a copy of the manuscript from him. The first recording of the work appears on this CD.
Felix Mendelssohn (1805-1847) composed three preludes and fugues 1833-39 and published them in England as op. 37. The works are composed to fully utilize the organ’s pedal keyboard which had only been introduced ca. 1800 in England, so the works challenged the nation’s organists and organ builders to become proficient in more fully adopting the pedal keyboard. Mendelssohn was greatly popular in England, where he gave concerts during eight visits 1829-1847. His popularity led to the commission from an English publisher for Mendelssohn’s famous Six Organ Sonatas, op. 65, composed 1839-45.
Jean Langlais (1907-1991) composed some 300 pieces for organ, both for sacred and for secular use, as well as many works for other instruments. Famed as an organist despite his blindness, Langlais became organist at the important Church of St. Clotilde in Paris for life. The rarely heard Fantaisie on a Norwegian Theme was published in 1939 as no. 18 in a set of 24 pieces for organ or harmonium.
Highland Cathedral is a popular bagpipe tune written by German musicians Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb and first published in 1982. Korb began bagpipe lessons in 1975 in Berlin with a Scottish piper whom he followed to Edinburgh to continue study. By 1979, Korb had adapted the bagpipe to disco music and made a successful record. He joined forces with producer and arranger Uli Roever to compose and develop Highland Cathedral.