Music for Solo Organ and Music for mezzo-soprano and organ
1925 E. M. Skinner Organ, Op.548, four manual, restored, University of South Dakota, Vermillion
Tracelyn Gesteland, mezzo-soprano
Wyatt Smith, organist
John Cook: Fanfare
Kurt Knecht: Missouri Sonata in 3 mvts: Waves, River Nocturne Current
Herbert Howells: Rhapsody
Voice & Organ
Charles W. Ore: Psalms 23 & 25 from Four Lisbon Psalms, Set II
Deanna Wehrspann: Be Still and Know That I Am God (Psalm 46)
Carson Cooman: The Rose of Sharon, Op. 1101
Charles Villiers Stanford: Three of Six Bible Songs, Op. 113:
A Song of Battle, No. 5; A Song of Freedom, No. 1; A Song of Peace, No. 4
Wyatt Smith, organist, and Tracelyn Gesteland, mezzo-soprano, explore and commission music for performance and recording in Aalfs Auditorium, Slagle Hall, at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where E. M. Skinner built his four-manual Op. 548 in 1925. The Solo Division was left by Skinner with only one stop installed -- a splendid Tuba Mirabilis -- and with many other stops intended but not installed until the organ was entirely restored by the Schantz Organ Co. in 2010. Then, extant replicas of the intended stops were fabricated and installed along with a new expression box for the Solo to increase its flexibility.
Make a Joyful Noise
by Wyatt Smith and Tracelyn Gesteland
Make a Joyful Noise takes its roots from Psalm 98, verses 4-6: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.”
The songs for voice and organ on this recording, along with the solo organ works, hark back to this text, either as sacred works or as those with subject matter inspired by the Divine or the need thereof. This recording is made possible by a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council.
John Cook (1918-1984): Fanfare (1952)
John Cook was an Anglo-American organist who lived during the twentieth century. After training as an organ scholar at Christ’s College, Cambridge, he held positions at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon (1949-1954); St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario (1954-1962); and finally, Church of the Advent, Boston (1962-1984). The majority of his published compositions comprise works for solo organ, along with service music for organ and choir in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. His Fanfare aptly features the Solo 8’ Tuba Mirabilis, paired with the Great 8’ Tromba.
Charles Ore (b. 1936): Lisbon Psalms, Set II: “Psalm 23” and “Psalm 25” (1975)
Charles Ore, one of four living composers featured on this recording, is currently the organist at First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has spent the majority of his life in various parts of the Midwest, serving churches and universities in Illinois and Nebraska. Ore’s settings of Psalms 23 and 25 for solo voice and organ are part of a series of psalm settings that he began composing while on sabbatical in Lisbon, Spain, in the early months of 1972. In these settings, Ore has composed music for the duo combination of organ and voice. In so doing, he serves each performer equally, rather than writing a keyboard part that simply accompanies the voice. Many of the softer sounds of the E. M. Skinner organ are heard in these pieces, including the delightful flute and string stops, among others.
The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
Thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Turn Thee unto me and have mercy upon me;
For I am desolate and afflicted.
Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in Thee;
Let me not be ashamed,
let not mine enemies triumph over me.
Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed;
Let them be ashamed
which transgress without cause.
Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in Thy truth and teach me,
for Thou art the God of my salvation;
on Thee do I wait all the day.
Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies
and Thy loving kindnesses
for they have been ever of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth,
nor my transgressions;
According to Thy mercy remember Thou me
for Thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.
Deanna Wehrspann (b. 1958):
Be Still and Know That I am God (2014)
Deanna Wehrspann is a professional pianist, choral singer, and composer of choral, vocal, string, and keyboard music. Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, she was named Commissioned Composer for the 2016 North Central Division Elementary Honor Choir of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and for the 2015 South Dakota Music Teachers Association. She has been Composer-in-Residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska, and at Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. Wehrspann has choral music published by Augsburg Fortress and was a winner in the Morningside College Choral Composition Contest in 2013. Commissioned by the Gesteland-Smith Duo, Wehrspann’s setting of Psalm 46 begins with a humble a cappella prayer. She uses clever word painting and changes in tempi to lead the listener through various moods, which are duly reflected in the organ from the rich string stops that are typical of E. M. Skinner to the majestic sound of the full English Swell. The song culminates first in stillness as demonstrated by the singer, even as the organist changes the harmonies around the vocal line, and then triumph in proclaiming that “The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress.”
God is our refuge,
God is our strength,
God is our present help in trouble.
We shall not fear, though the earth shakes,
Though the mountains cascade into ocean’s depths,
though the seas roar,
though the waters rage,
though the hills tremble at the tempest.
Here is a river whose waters are joy
For God’s holy city,
The sacred house, the holy place.
The city is God’s, the city immovable,
the city safe at the break of day.
The nations roar, the kingdoms rage,
God’s voice is yet heard,
The earth melts to nothing.
The Lord of hosts is with us,
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
the power of God’s hand on the earth!
God brings end to war throughout the world.
Bows are broken, spears are shattered,
God burns the shields with fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
Exalted among all nations, supreme in all the world.
Kurt Knecht (b. 1971): Missouri Sonata (2012)
Originally from Tampa, Florida, composer Kurt Knecht lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he is the organist of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Knecht has composed for many different mediums including choirs, chamber ensembles, solo voice, and keyboards (piano and organ). The Missouri Sonata was commissioned by Wyatt Smith in 2011 and was premiered by Smith two years later on his final degree recital at the University of South Dakota in March 2013. The movements of this sonata create three different musical portraits of the great Missouri River, which divides South Dakota in half. The first movement, Waves, creates the musical equivalent of actual waves, with the breaking of waves marked with the descending fanfares heard primarily on the Solo 8’ Tuba Mirabilis. The middle movement, River Nocturne, features the Solo 8’ French Horn in the outer sections, coupled down to the pedal at 4’, played against the Swell 8’ Gamba and Celeste. The final movement is a firestorm of notes that live up to the title, Current. Even though the dynamics change throughout the movement, the musical motion is consistent throughout in a series of unrelenting sixteenth notes alternating between the hands. The primary theme is heard in the pedals on reeds and foundations. Knecht comes full circle by incorporating a “wave” from the first movement at the end of the Sonata.
Carson Cooman (b. 1982):
The Rose of Sharon, Op. 1101 (2015)
Carson Cooman is a prolific composer, having composed more than a thousand works for virtually every medium and musical combination. The Gesteland-Smith Duo commissioned The Rose of Sharon, Op. 1101, to serve as the pinnacle work for voice and organ in this program. Cooman beautifully interprets the text of Song of Songs 2, both in text painting and in the creative organ accompaniment. This piece works beautifully on the Skinner organ, showing off nearly all of its resources. Among different foundations, this piece features again the sumptuous Skinner strings, along with solo voices that feature two large flute stops (Solo 8’ Flauto Mirabilis and Great 8’ Clarabel Flute), and the Choir 8’ Clarinet.
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns,
so is my love among the daughters.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
Stay with me flagons, comfort me with apples:
For I am sick of love.
His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand doth embrace me.
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
By the roes, and by the hinds of the field
That ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains,
skipping upon the hills.
My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
Herbert Howells (1892-1983):
Rhapsody in D-flat, Op. 17, No. 1 (1915)
Herbert Howells is one of the most respected musicians and composers of the twentieth century in England, having dedicated his life to writing music for the organ and for practical service use. While in his formative years, Howells was influenced by Charles Villiers Stanford and Sir Hubert Parry, two other great composers in the realm of British church music. The Rhapsody in D-flat is the first of three rhapsodies that comprise Opus 17. These three rhapsodies were written while Howells was in his early twenties, during the raging events of the First World War. The Rhapsody in D-flat uses tension and release to create a rather reflective atmosphere. The Skinner organ is perfectly suited for this style of music. It makes use of the multiple enclosed divisions, along with the use of the tonal resources available, from the Skinner strings to majestic full organ at the climax.
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924):
Bible Songs, Op. 113, Nos. 5, 1, 4 (1909)
As one of Britain’s great composers of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford made his impact on British sacred music. Among his many compositions for practical service use are a set of six songs and anthems that were published under the name, Bible Songs, Op. 113. These six songs were composed for either solo voice or unison treble choir, accompanied by the organ. Each song was paired with an anthem that was composed for the full choir and organ. Of the six Bible Songs, we have recorded three. First is the Song of Battle, based on Psalm 124: 1-7, followed by the Song of Freedom, which is based on Psalm 126. Finally, the Song of Peace is based on the text of Isaiah 11, prophesying about the birth of the Savior. Stanford brilliantly incorporates the chant theme of Veni Emmanuel, recalling the text of the Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Song of Battle
If the Lord himself had not been on our side,
now may Israel say:
If the Lord himself had not been on our side,
when men rose up against us;
Then they had swallowed us up alive,
when their wrath was kindled against us.
Then the waters had overwhelmed us,
The stream had gone over our soul.
Then the proud waters had gone even over our soul.
Blessed be the Lord,
who hath not given us as a prey unto their teeth.
Our soul is escaped even as a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we are delivered.
Our help is in the Name of the Lord,
who hath made heav’n and earth.
Song of Freedom
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion,
then were we like to those that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter
and our tongues with joy.
Then said they among the heathen,
the Lord hath done great things for them.
Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already,
whereof we rejoice,
The Lord hath done great things for us
whereof we rejoice.
Turn again our captivity, O Lord,
as the rivers in the south.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with joy,
and bring his sheaves with him.
Song of Peace
There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots;
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears;
And with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove with equity the meek of the earth;
and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
and a little child shall lead them.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
which shall stand for an ensign unto the people;
And his rest shall be glorious.
The Gesteland-Smith Duo
The Gesteland-Smith Duo, mezzo-soprano Tracelyn Gesteland and organist Wyatt Smith, champions repertoire for organ and voice. In addition to performing standard literature, they are at the forefront of commissioning new works for this rare combination of forces.
Tracelyn Gesteland, mezzo-soprano, is an active performer on the opera, concert and recital stage. Referred to by reviewers as “remarkable” and a “highlight of the evening” as well as “an engaging and versatile singing actress,” she enjoys interpreting standard repertoire in addition to championing contemporary music.
On the operatic stage, Gesteland has created several roles in world premiere productions, most notably, the title role in Strega Nona with Houston Grand Opera. Other selected roles include: Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Meg in Little Women, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberfloete, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Mother in Hansel and Gretel, Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Princess Linetta in The Love for Three Oranges, Joanne in I Can’t Stand Wagner, The Announcer in Gallantry, Aréthuze in La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers, and the title role in Carmen.
She has performed roles and concerts with the Houston Grand Opera, Atlantic Coast Opera, Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, Elgin Opera, Stoughton Opera, Light Opera Works, Center Light Theatre, l’opera piccola, Ars Lyrica Houston, Moores Opera Center, Harrower Opera, Sounds of South Dakota Opera, Contemporary Opera Lab, South Dakota Symphony, Sioux City Symphony, Nachitoches-Northwestern Symphony, Song Collaborators Consortia, National Opera Association, Rawlins Trio, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus under the batons of Barenboim, Mehta, Boulez, Penderecki and Wolff. An avid recitalist, she performs frequently across the United States and Canada as a soloist and with the Gesteland-Smith Duo.
Dr. Gesteland currently serves as Associate Professor on the voice faculty of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, the state’s flagship university, and holds the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair. She was the winner of the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest teaching honor given at USD, and was also named an Emerging Leader by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She instructs Applied Voice for graduate and undergraduate students, Vocal Pedagogy, Diction, and the USD Opera. She was chosen as an apprentice in stage direction for the Harrower Opera in Atlanta and has won multiple national awards for her opera direction at USD. She holds music degrees from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music (D.M.A.-Vocal Performance), Roosevelt University (M.M.-Vocal Performance and Pedagogy), and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (B.M.-Music Education with a Drama minor).
Wyatt Smith, a native of Rapid City, South Dakota, is the Principal Organist at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Washington. A performer with “nuance, polish, and personality” (Michael Barone, Pipedreams), Wyatt concertizes extensively in the United States. Notable venues include the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs), St. Andrew’s Cathedral (Honolulu), St. Mark‘s Cathedral (Seattle), the Spreckels Organ at Balboa Park (San Diego), Trinity Church (Boston), Woolsey Hall at Yale University (New Haven), the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles), Christ Episcopal Church (Tacoma, Washington) and Overture Concert Hall (Madison, Wisconsin). He has also performed as a Rising Star at the 2012 AGO National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Wyatt won the 2011 AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists (North Central Region) in Des Moines, Iowa. His performances have been heard on several episodes of American Public Media’s Pipedreams.
Wyatt has a deep passion for commissioning and performing new works for the organ. Over the last several years, he has commissioned and premiered works by David Cherwien, Carson Cooman, Emma Lou Diemer, Kurt Knecht, Kristina Langlois, Linda Moeller, Lynn Petersen, Pamela Ruiter- Feenstra, Deanna Wehrspann, and Stephen Yarbrough.
Wyatt began piano studies at the age of seven and organ studies at the age of ten. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the University of South Dakota, where he graduated magna cum laude. At USD, he was an organ student of Dr. Larry Schou. Wyatt is a graduate of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale School of Music where he studied organ performance with Dr. Martin Jean. He pursues a doctoral degree in organ performance at University of Washington in Seattle, studying with Dr. Carole Terry. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, from which he holds the Colleague and Service Playing Certificates.
Skinner Organ Company Op. 548, 1925
As America’s dominant organbuilder from about 1910 through the first half of the 20th century, Ernest M. Skinner (1866-1925) and his firm, The Skinner Organ Company of Boston, built the organ for Aalfs Auditorium in Slagle Hall at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, in 1925 as the firm’s opus 548. The organ was restored and stops which had been planned in 1925 were finally added (constructed as replicas of extant models by Skinner) by the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio, in 2010 as the Auditorium was refurbished. An expression box for the completed Solo division was provided and a modern, multi-level combination and control system (Peterson ICS) was fitted to the original Skinner console; the original parts thus replaced have been preserved at the university.
Aalfs Auditorium, Slagle Hall, University of South Dakota, Vermillion
Skinner Organ Company, Opus 548 (1925)
Restoration and Completion by Schantz Organ Company, 2010
Great Organ – 5 ranks, 11 stops
16’ Bourdon [PEDAL]
8’ Major Diapason 61 pipes
8’ Minor Diapason 61 pipes
8’ Clarabel Flute 61 pipes
8’ Gedeckt [SWELL]
8’ Gamba [SWELL]
8’ Flute Celeste II [SWELL]
4’ Octave 61 pipes
4’ Flute [SWELL]
8’ Tromba 61 pipes
8’ Cornopean [SWELL]
Swell to Great 16 8 4
Choir to Great 8
Solo to Great 16 8 4
Swell Organ exp., 16 rks, 12 stps
16’ Bourdon 73 pipes
8’ Diapason 73 pipes
8’ Gedeckt 73 pipes
8’ Gamba 73 pipes
8’ Voix Celeste II 146 pipes
8’ Flauto Dolce 73 pipes
8’ Flute Celeste TC 61 pipes
4’ Flute Triangulaire 73 pipes
2’ Mixture V 305 pipes
8’ Cornopean 73 pipes
8’ Corno d’ Amore 73 pipes
8’ Vox Humana 73 pipes
Choir Organ exp., 4 rks, 4 stps
8’ Diapason 73 pipes
8’ Concert Flute 73 pipes
4’ Flute 73 pipes
8’ Clarinet 73 pipes
Solo Organ exp., 5 rks, 5 stps
8’ Flauto Mirabilis* 73 pipes
8’ Gamba* 73 pipes
8’ Gamba Celeste* 73 pipes
8’ French Horn* 73 pipes
8’ Tuba Mirabilis 73 pipes
Great to Solo 8
Pedal Organ – 3 ranks, 8 stops
16’ Open Diapason 44 pipes
16’ Bourdon 44 pipes
16’ Echo Bourdon [SWELL]
8’ Still Gedeckt [SWELL]
16’ Trombone* 44 pipes
Great to Pedal 8
Swell to Pedal 8 4
Choir to Pedal 8
Solo to Pedal 8 4
4 manuals and Pedal
* new, replica pipes
99 Combination Levels
8 toe and thumb
5 thumb Gt, Ch, So;
6 thumb Sw; 5 toe Ped
3 Expression Pedals:
Swell, Choir, Solo
Pedal Comb on Swell
Pedal Comb on Great
Pedal Comb on Choir
Pedal Comb on Solo