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Poems & Variations: Tikker at Claremont - [OAR-670] $15.98

1998 Rosales/Glatter-Götz 3-77, Claremont, California

Timothy Tikker plays the famous three-manual organ of 77 ranks at the United Church of Christ in Claremont, California, built in 1998 by Manuel Rosales in collaboration with Glatter-Götz Orgelbau.

DUPRÉ: Évocation, Poème Symphonique, op. 37
TIKKER: Variations sur un vieux Noël
TOURNEMIRE: Trois Poèmes, op. 59 (Psalms 22, 23, 150)

"As usual, Raven's engineering is superb. . . He [Tikker] emerges as a top-flight performer, heard to good advantage on this magnificent organ." The American Record Guide

"Organist Tikker... here acquits himself well as both performer and composer. He intersperses his own work, Variations sur un vieux Noël (Holtkamp/AGO winner 1993-94) with works by Dupré (Évocation, Poème symphonique pour Orgue, op. 37) and the first U. S. recording of Trois Poèmes pour Orgue, op. 59, by the enigmatic Charles Tournemire. Perhaps a comparison is implied. If so, it is an apt one, for both his composition and his performances are splendid. The UCC instrument is handsome, well spoken, and well sited. Chosen by Tikker for its resemblance tonally to the instruments of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, the GG/R handles all of the music well, and itself is handled with dramatic precision by Tikker. For devotees of 20th-century French Romantic organ music, this is a welcome addition."
The American Organist


Charles Tournemire was born 22 January 1870 in Bordeaux, France.  He studied organ with César Franck and Widor at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1894 became organist at Ste.-Clotilde Basilica in Paris, where Franck had been organist.  In 1922 he became professor of Ensemble Music at the Paris Conservatoire.  He was a famed improviser as well as prolific composer, with eight orchestral symphonies, eight operas and oratorios, many piano and chamber works to his credit, as well as hundreds of organ works.  He died 4 November 1939 in Arcachon, France.

The Three Poems were composed in October and November of 1932, and premiered by the composer at the inauguration of the rebuilt Ste.-Clotilde organ on 30 June 1933.  His first works after his monumental l'Orgue Mystique (a collection of 253 pieces based on Gregorian chant for the complete liturgical year), these Poems represent Tournemire's mature symphonic organ style, formally developed from the model of Franck's Three Chorales of 1890.  Also, the form of Poem I recalls Franck's opus 18, the Prélude, Fugue & Variation.  In his memoirs, Tournemire related that these poems were based on psalms, the first on Psalm 22:

    My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?...  Why do you remain far from helping me, not hearing my moaning?

The second cites Psalm 23:

    The Lord is my shepherd;  he makes me rest in green pastures;  he leads me along still waters.  He restores my soul.

The third, Psalm 150:

    Praise the Eternal One!  Praise him on the lyre and the harp!  Praise him with resounding cymbals.  Let all that breathes praise the Eternal One.

Marcel Dupré was born 3 May 1886 in Rouen, France, the son of Albert Dupré, organist at the abbey church of St.-Ouen in that Norman city.  Marcel proved a musical prodigy, receiving his formative training from his father, and later studying with Alexandre Guilmant, Louis Vierne, and Charles-Marie Widor.  Dupré soon became one of the world's leading concert organists, as well as a great improvisor and noteworthy composer.  In 1933 he succeeded Widor as organist at the church of St.-Sulpice in Paris, and from 1926 to 1954 was organ professor at the Paris Conservatoire.  He died 30 May 1971, Pentecost Sunday, a few hours after playing morning services at St.-Sulpice.

Albert Dupré died 5 July 1940, five days before the birth of the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Nazi occupation of France.  Since civilians were prohibited from traveling between the German and free zones at that time, Marcel was unable to attend his father's funeral.  The previous year, St.-Ouen's magnificent organ, built by Cavaillé-Coll in 1890, had been dismantled for restoration.  Eventually, Marcel gave the organ's re-inaugural concert on 26 October 1941, including his new work written for the occasion, Evocation, the first of his symphonic poems for organ.  While he simply inscribed the score to his father's memory, Dupré related to a handful of intimates that this triptych was a musical portrait of his father.  As Jeanne Demessieux quoted him in her journal:  "My idea is to recount the three sides of my father's character:  he was a worrier, as I am myself;  he was tender;  and he was proud, in the sense of having dignity."  However, more than twenty years later, English organist Graham Steed, in a conversation with Dupré, confirmed his intuition that the work's deeper program concerned the fall of France to the Nazis, a prayer for its restoration, and a call to arms and victory over the oppressors.

Timothy Tikker's Variations on an Old French Carol were begun in 1986, mostly written in 1988-89, and completed in 1993, when they won the AGO-Holtkamp Award for Organ Composition.  They were first performed, by the composer, on 17 October 1993 in Eugene, Oregon.  "Or, nous dites Marie" (also known as the hymn tune Chartres) is a French carol tune of c. 1450, to which various texts have been sung.  These variations follow in the centuries-old tradition of composed and improvised variations on noels.  The theme is introduced in a poised harmonization, emphasizing the Dorian mode.  The "Canzona in trio" evokes earlier Renaissance styles with double-leading tone cadences.  A sombre "Canon at the octave" in the Phrygian mode incorporates this canon's occasionally unlikely intervals into a rich harmony.  "Flutes" uses Messiaen's sixth mode, which contains the notes of Scriabin's "Prometheus" chord.  Mysterious harmonies float through a gentle "Lullaby" in 5/8, followed by the jaunty "Musette" inspired by the bagpipes and shawms of Brittany.  "Canon at the fourth" preceeds the concluding "Fugato and Finale," which combines strict and free fugal procedures in a fugue/toccata synthesis in a Bulgarian ruchenitsa (7/8) rhythm.

Performance Notes:  Though both were organists in the same city, and were educated and later taught at the same conservatory, Tournemire and Dupré represented two very distinct schools of organ performance.  From Franck, Tournemire inherited a very free style, incorporating abundant tempo rubato as well as a freer approach to articulation.  Dupré's style, more indebted to Widor and Vierne, was comparatively severe, generally avoiding rhythmic freedom and using extremely strict articulations of repeated notes and staccati.  Both styles have their beauty, their expressive qualities, Tournemire's being more lyric and rhapsodic, Dupré's more austere, monumental, architectural.  After studying Tournemire's works with his student Langlais, I have carefully researched both styles, based on these composer's writings and recordings as well as those of their contemporaries and students, and have endeavored to render their respective works sympathetically in their appropriate styles.  My research on Dupré led me to incorporate his changes to the score as related by Demessieux (quoted in her biography by Christiane Trieu-Colleney). 

I chose the organ at Claremont United Church of Christ Congregational for this recording after years of considering many different organs.  I needed a large organ of at least three manuals, including 32í stops, and especially with many voices of French romantic character, particularly the reeds.  Manuel Rosales' extensive research on the organs of the great Parisian organbuilder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), among them the organ of St.-Ouen-de-Rouen, is clearly evident at Claremont.  The magnificent tutti including Trompette-en-chamade and 32' Bombarde is truly evocative of the grandeur of St-.Ouen.  The softer colors and the rich ensemble of foundation tone are also remarkably authentic, and completely appropriate to this music.   I can hardly think of a better organ for this music this side of the Atlantic than Claremont's Glatter-Goetz/Rosales.

Timothy Tikker was born 31 December 1958 in San Francisco, California.  He began organ study in 1973 under Ludwig Altman, and later became assistant organist at St. Ignatius Church at the University of San Francisco.  He obtained his Bachelor of Music in Organ at San Francisco State University magna cum laude, his Master of Music at the University of Oregon at Eugene, and studied privately with Jean Langlais in Paris.  After improvisation studies with Guy Bovet, André Isoir and Daniel Roth, he won First Prize in the San Anselmo Organ Improvisation Competition in 1987.  Composition prizes include the AGO-Holtkamp Award (1993-94), the First Prize in the Franceschini Competition, UNESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil (1997), and the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Competition (1999).  His translation of Messiaen's Lecture at Notre-Dame was is published by A. Leduc, Paris.  From 1996 to 2000 he was organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (RC) in Charleston, South Carolina.  He is currently College Organist at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and maintains an active concert and composing career.

Specifications

  Tonal design and voicing by Manuel Rosales
 

II Man. Great

C - c''''

Principal
Principal
Flûte harmonique
Rohrflöte
Gamba
Octave
Spitzflöte
Octave Quint
Super Octave
Mixtur IV - VIII
Cornet V from tenor f
Bombarde
Trompette
Clairon
Tremulant
Chimes

16'
8'
8'
8'
8'
4'
4'
2 2/3'
2'
2'
8'
16'
8'
4'



I Man. Positiv

C - c''''

Principal
Gedeckt
Gemshorn
Octave
Hohlflöte
Nasard
Tierce
Octave
Waldflöte
Larigot
Mixture IV - VI
Cromorne
Chamade
Harp
Tremulant
Zymbelstern

8'
8'
8'
4'
4'
2 2/3'
13/5'
2'
2'
1 1/3'
1 1/3'
8'
8'




III Man. Swell

C - c''''

Bourdon
Diapason
Bourdon
Viole de Gambe
Voix céleste
Unda Maris
Aeoline
Principal
Flûte octaviante
Nasard
Octavin
Tierce
Plein-jeu harm. II - IV
Basson
Trompette
Hautbois
Voix humaine
Clairon
Tremulant

16'
8'
8'
8'
8'
8'
8'
4'
4'
2 2/3'
2'
1 3/5'
2'
16'
8'
8'
8'
4'



Pedal

C-g'

Untersatz
Praestant
Flute
Subbass
Octave
Gedeckt
Flûte
Choralbass
Mixture V
Contre Bombarde
Bombarde
Basson
Trompette

32'
16'
16'
16'
8'
8'
8'
4'
5 1/3'
32'
16'
16'
8'



Couplers


Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Positiv to Pedal
Swell to Great
Positive to Great
Swell to Positive


<I>Poems & Variations:</I> Tikker at Claremont
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