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David Heller, Organist
Létourneau Organ, Christ Church United Methodist, Louisville, KY - [OAR-971]

David Heller plays the Létourneau organ of 54 ranks built in 2009 as Opus 107 at the large and acoustically resonant edifice of Christ Church United Methodist, Louisville, Kentucky.

John Cook: Fanfare
Johann Pachelbel: Partita Werde munter, mein Gemüte
J. S. Bach: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654
J. S. Bach: Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564
Johannes Brahms: 4 of Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122:
  No. 5 Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
  No. 8 Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
  No. 9 Herzlich tut mich verlangen
  No. 11 O Welt, ich muß dich lassen
César Franck: Choral No. 3 in A Minor
Percy Whitlock: Folk Tune
Oskar Lindberg: Gammal fäbodpsalm från Dalarna
Herbert Howells: Master Tallis’s Testament
Craig Phillips: Fugue on the Carillon d’Alet

The Music
by David Heller

John Cook: Fanfare
The professional life of John Cook developed in three countries. Born in England, Cook was educated at Christ Church College in Cambridge as a pupil of Boris Ord and Sir David Willcocks. He left England in 1954 to assume the post of Cathedral Organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Ontario, Canada. In 1961, Cook was appointed Organist and Choir Master at the famed Church of the Advent in Boston, Massachusetts, 1961-68. He also served on the faculties of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cook’s Fanfare, his best known organ work, was written while he still was living in England. It was composed in 1951 as part of a larger work to celebrate the Festival of Britain that year and subsequently published in 1952 in the version that is best known today.

Johann Pachelbel: Werde munter, mein Gemüte

It is unfortunate that the music of Johann Pachelbel is overshadowed in our time by his well-known Canon in D Major for strings. Pachelbel was a prolific composer in many genres, including organ music. His organ works had a profound influence on the young Sebastian Bach (whose older brother, with whom he lived after the death of his parents, was a student of Pachelbel and exposed his younger brother to this middle- German master’s music). Pachelbel composed several sets of variations on German Lutheran chorales that feature various compositional techniques, often incorporating a “crescendo” of rhythmic complexity as the variation set progresses. This short set of variations is on the chorale, Werde munter, mein Gemüte, written by Johann Schop (1600- 1665). This chorale has come down to us in two rhythmic versions: in common meter (as in this partita), or in triple meter, which J. S. Bach made famous in Cantata No. 147 and is best known today as Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

J. S. Bach: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654

The communion hymn, Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (Adorn yourself, O dear soul), was used only once in an organ work by J. S. Bach – but the end result was a composition that has transcended time and influenced the likes of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms, and has remained one of the master’s popular organ works. This chorale prelude is one of several extended settings of Lutheran chorales composed by Bach during his years in Weimar. These chorale settings were revised later in Bach’s life, during his tenure in Leipzig, perhaps in preparation for publication during the last decade of his life. No less a person than Felix Mendelssohn commented to his friend and colleague, Robert Schumann, about this piece, “If life were to deprive me of hope and faith, this single chorale would replenish me with both.”

J. S. Bach: Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564

The Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major is another composition that dates from Bach’s years in Weimar, but perhaps in the earlier years of that period. This three-movement work is a brilliant fusion of two great influences in his compositional output at this time: the North German praeludium, with its sectionalized format and the use of an extended (and virtuosic) pedal solo; and the music of Italy as seen in the concerto-ritornello format perfected by Antonio Vivaldi and which Bach used for the main portion of the Toccata movement. The Adagio is reminiscent of a solo violin accompanied by a continuo section in the left hand and pedals. The closing Fugue clearly shows Bach’s mastery of four-part contrapuntal writing at this time, with the ability to write an extended fugue that far exceeded the confines of the much shorter fugal sections in the earlier North German keyboard works of his predecessors.

Johannes Brahms: 4 of Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122
Johannes Brahms is not usually associated with the organ or its literature, but that does not mean that he ignored the instrument entirely in his vast musical output. In a letter to Clara Schumann in 1855, Brahms wrote that he was practicing the organ daily (finding it difficult to master!) and was contemplating a career as a traveling organ virtuoso. His study of the organ seems not to have continued beyond the mid-1850s, perhaps an outgrowth of his contrapuntal studies with his good friend Joseph Joachim. The end result of this self-study in counterpoint was the composition of three early works for the organ. Aside from one single work composed in the late 1870s, Brahms did not return his attention to the organ until the final months of his life. The Elf Choralvorspiele, Op. 122 were begun in May of 1896, and interrupted by the death of his close friend, Clara Schumann. The remaining chorale settings were finished later in June of that year, but by the end of the summer, his own health was deteriorating due to the effects of liver cancer, which ultimately claimed his life on April 3, 1897. These brief works are introspective in nature, with many of the texts dealing with matters of death and life after death.

Texts of the Chorales

No. 5, Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
Adorn yourself, O dear soul; leave the dark den of sin. Come to the bright light, begin to shine wonderfully. For the Lord, full of salvation and mercy, wishes to have you as his guest. He who can administer the heavens wishes to dwell in you.

No. 8, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
It is a rose sprung from a tender root, from the lineage of Jesse, as me of old have sung, and brought forth a little flower amidst the cold of winter, in the middle of the night.

No. 9, Herzlich tut mich verlangen
I yearn from my heart for a blessed death, because I am surrounded here with sorrow and misery. I desire to depart from this evil world and long for eternal joy. O Jesus, only come soon.

No. 11, O Welt, ich muß dich lassen
O world, I must leave you, I depart to follow my path to the eternal fatherland;
my spirit I wish to relinquish, in order to place my body and life mercifully
in the hands of God.
—Translations by George Bozarth and Mark Bighley

César Franck: Choral No. 3 in A Minor
César Franck’s Choral No. 3 in A Minor is the last of a set of three “Chorales,” completed just prior to his death in 1890. An admirer of Bach’s works both as a composer and as a teacher at the Paris Conservatory, Franck wanted to compose a new and different type of “chorale,” unlike that of Bach. The opening toccata-like figuration is contrasted against a second, hymn-like theme that alternates with opening material throughout the first section. A quiet adagio section provides a complete change in mood before the final section in which the two themes from the opening reappear together in a glorious climax at the work’s conclusion.

Percy Whitlock: Folk Tune
The next two works in this recording reflect the influence of native folk music in the compositional process for each composer. Percy Whitlock’s short but productive career resulted in a number of compositions for the organ influenced by the style of his mentors Stanford, Vaughan Williams, and Harris. The Folk Tune is from a set of Five Short Pieces, composed in 1929.

Oskar Lindberg: Gammal fäbodpsalm från Dalarna

Roughly contemporary to Whitlock was the Swedish organist Oskar Lindberg, whose professional life was centered in Stockholm where he served two churches and was a faculty member at the State Academy of Music. His Gammal fäbodpsalm från Dalarna (Old Summer Pasture Song from Dalarna) is a simple, plaintive setting of an old folk hymn from the region of Dalarna in central Sweden.

Herbert Howells: Master Tallis’s Testament

Perhaps no single composer is most closely associated with the organ and choral music of the Anglican Church than Herbert Howells. Born at the end of the nineteenth century, Howells’ harmonic language was far less direct than that of his contemporaries, which may have been a reflection of tonal developments across the channel with impressionist composers in France (some have even likened him to be the English equivalent of his contemporary Charles Tournemire in Paris). Howells’ music is often evocative, creating a sense of mood and color that wasn’t often seen in his British counterparts. Master Tallis’s Testament is from Six Pieces, a group of organ works that was begun in 1939. This work was a particular favorite of the composer, recalling his experience in conducting Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Unlike Vaughan Williams’ work, Howells’ organ composition is not based on a particular theme or motive from Tallis’ music – rather it is an evocation of the spirit of Tallis, which can be heard in the melodic material as well as the cadences that punctuate each section. True to his signature style, this popular work of Howells features a glorious buildup of sound that must immediately fade away to the quietest stops in the organ for the final phrase.

Craig Phillips: Fugue on the Carillon d’Alet

Los Angeles composer Craig Phillips has become a leading composer of organ and choral music. A native of Tennessee, Philips was educated at Oklahoma Baptist University and the Eastman School of Music where he distinguished himself as an organist while pursuing his interest in composition. Having been appointed Organist and Composer-in-Residence at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, Phillips continued to develop his compositional skills, producing a large and varied catalog of works for various media. The Fugue on the Carillon d’Alet was composed in 2011 during his annual summer residency in France. The piece is based on the bells at the Eglise-Saint- André in the village of Alet-Les-Bains. The bells peal a two-tone angelus three times daily from the bell tower adjacent to the ruins of the eleventh-century Notre-Dame Abbey. The fugue subject is based on this simple bell peal, and as the piece develops, it imitates the rhythm of the bells as they ring out of synch with each other.

David Heller
Organist David Heller has risen to prominence as an outstanding performer and pedagogue in the United States. The American Organist has described him as “an eloquent performer” and his playing as “an excellent demonstration of outstanding music making.” A native of Wisconsin, Dr. Heller holds degrees from Lawrence University and the Eastman School of Music, which awarded him the prestigious Performer’s Certificate in Organ. His teachers have included Miriam Clapp Duncan and Russell Saunders in organ, and Colin Tilney and Lisa Goode Crawford in harpsichord. His post-doctoral study was with David Craighead in organ, and improvisation with Gerre Hancock.

As an active recitalist, David Heller has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, as well as South Korea and most recently, Taiwan. He has appeared as both performer and presenter at national and regional conventions of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, the Organ Historical Society, the American Institute of Organ Builders, and the American Guild of Organists. As author of the highly acclaimed book, Manual on Hymn Playing (G. I. A. Publications), he is frequently sought as a lecturer and clinician in the areas of church music skills and hymn playing. As an avid organ historian, he documents the pipe organ in San Antonio with intent of publishing the results as the culmination of a collaboration that was begun with the late John Ballard. He has four recordings to his credit on the Calcante and Pro Organo labels featuring distinctive instruments.

Since 1986, David Heller has been a member of the faculty at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, serving as Professor of Music and University Organist. His primary teaching responsibilities in the Department of Music are in the areas of organ and harpsichord performance and literature, church music skills, and music theory. In 2010, Dr. Heller received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Creative Work from Trinity University, a distinguished honor awarded to faculty. He was appointed Chair of the Department of Music in 2012.
In addition to his teaching duties, David Heller has held a number of prominent church jobs, including two artist residencies at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, Oregon, and NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas.  He currently serves as Associate Organist for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio.

Orgues Létourneau, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada, Op. 107, 2009, 54 ranks
Christ Church United Methodist, Louisville, Kentucky

16’    Double Open Diapason
8’    1st Open Diapason
8’    2nd Open Diapason
8’    Harmonic Flute
8’    Bourdon
4’    Principal
4’    Open Flute
2’    Twelfth
2’    Fifteenth
1-1/3’    Mixture IV-VI
8’    Trumpet
8’    Tuba
    Chimes CH
Great 16, 8
Swell to Great 16, 8, 4
Choir to Great 16, 8, 4

Swell (expressive)
8’    Open Diapason
8’    Salicional
8’    Voix Celeste
8’    Chimney Flute
4’    Principal
4’    Spire Flute
2-2/3’    Nazard
2’    Flageolet
1-3/5’    Tierce
2’    Full Mixture V
16’    Double Trumpet
8’    Trumpet
8’    Oboe
4’    Clarion
Swell 16, 8, 4
Choir to Swell

Choir (expressive)
16’    Lieblich Gedackt
8’    Viola
8’    Lieblich Gedackt
8’    Flute Celeste II
4’    Principal
4’    Spindle Flute
2’    Octave
1-1/3’    Larigot
1’    Mixture IV
8’    Cremona
8’    Tuba
Choir 16, 8, 4
Great to Choir 8
Swell to Choir 16, 8, 4


32’    Contra Bourdon
16’    1st Open Diapason
16’    2nd Open Diapason GR
16’    Subbass
16’    Lieblich Gedackt CH
8’    Principal
8’    Bourdon
8’    Lieblich Gedackt CH
4’    Choral Bass
32’    Contra Trombone
16’    Trombone
16’    Double Trumpet SW
8’    Tromba
8’    Tuba CH
    Chimes CH
Pedal Unison Off
Great to Pedal 8, 4
Swell to Pedal 8, 4
Choir to Pedal 8, 4

128 memory levels
12 General Pistons
8 Pistons per Division
Combination Sequencer
Programmable Crescendo

David Heller, Organist<BR>Létourneau Organ, Christ Church United Methodist, Louisville, KY
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