Adam Pajan plays British, Belgian, and American works on the 4-manual, 76-rank organ built in 2004 by Kegg Pipe Organ Builders in the grand acoustics of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Canton, Ohio.
Percy Whitlock: Fantasie Choral No. 2
Edward Shippen Barnes: Seven Sketches, op. 34
Pastorale · Chanson · Shining Shore · Esquisse · Canzona · Caprice · Fugue
Edward Bairstow: Legend
Edward Bairstow: Scherzo
Wm. Henry Harris: Flourish for an Occasion
Howells: Rhapsody Op. 17, No. 1
Jongen: Sonata Eroïca
Adam Pajan presents the first complete recording of Seven Sketches, op. 34, composed by the American organist, Edward Shippen Barnes (1887-1958), who studied at Yale with Horatio Parker and Harry Jepson and then in Paris with Vierne and Vincent d'Indy. Barnes worked in the northeast, then worked in Santa Monica, California, at First Presbyterian Church for 20 years, 1938-58. The Kegg organ at the Canton Basilica features a lush specification which includes eight sets of celesting ranks as well as a large contingent of orchestral reeds, some retained from the previous organ which itself gathered ranks from several sources including most of two E. M. Skinner organs. The resonant edifice was built as a parish church in 1874 to a design of famed architect James Renwick and in 2012 became the only basilica in the Diocese of Youngstown.
Adam Pajan teaches organ performance and organ technology at the University of Oklahoma’s American Organ Institute. He received the DMA in 2014 under John Schwandt following studies at Furman and Yale Universities under the tutelage of Charles Tompkins, Martin Jean, and Thomas Murray.
Notes on the Program
by Adam Pajan
When thinking of national schools of organ playing and composition, perhaps the first to come to mind for the late 19th and early 20th centuries is that of France. Immediately, familiar names such as Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, César Franck, Charles-Marie Widor, and Louis Vierne (among many others) come to mind, and indeed, the compositions of these luminaries sparked immense interest from the musical world. Even today, the influence of the French Romantic organ composers is felt strongly, and their works have rightfully earned an esteemed place in the standard organ repertory.
An equally important but less recognized school of organ playing and composition emerged in England, developing largely in the first half of the 20th century. Though their names do not necessarily carry the same recognition as their continental counterparts in the world of organ repertoire, the works of composers such as Charles Villiers Stanford, Hubert Parry, Edward Bairstow, Percy Whitlock, William Henry Harris, and Edward Elgar demonstrate a very different trend. Primarily associated with Anglican church music, the organ works of these composers have received increasing attention in recent years, and this recording is dedicated primarily to English Romantic music, exploring also works of contemporaries Edward Shippen Barnes in the United States and Joseph Jongen in Belgium.
English instruments possessed specifications geared more toward accompanying, generally yielding a greater number of 8’ foundation stops and a variety of color stops, including reeds. Flexible, adjustable combination action enabled organists to create kaleidoscopic sequences of registrations, standing in stark contrast to the more regimented ventil system of registration in France or the Rollschweller crescendos found in Germany. The Kegg organ at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist is perfectly poised to present this music with its American Romantic palette: a wealth of rich 8’ foundation stops, numerous color flutes and reeds, dark but incisive chorus reeds, and an expressivity rarely found in new instruments.
William Henry Harris (1883-1973), known fondly as “Doc H” by his boy choristers, was a leading composer of Anglican church music and choirmaster at Windsor. His anthems and services remain the most popular of his works, though he also produced organ solos and an Heroic Prelude for orchestra. The Flourish for an Occasion shows Harris in a most proper, grand English light. One can imagine the music accompanying a procession through one of the great British cathedrals, the sweeping arpeggios swimming in the glorious acoustics. Constructed in a compact ABA form, the Flourish contrasts grandiose, fanfare-like statements with rhapsodic figurations and an elegant chorale-like B section. Gradual additions and subtractions of stops support the wonderful grandeur of this work.
The two pieces by Edward Bairstow (1874-1946) are an interesting contrast to each other. The genre of the “legend” emerged in the 19th century as a kind of programmatic work to tell an epic story. Our hero in Bairstow’s Legend is one who seems to be something of a Jekyll and Hyde: his tender, pensive moments that are occasionally stirred by bursts of enthusiasm are contrasted sharply by restless, insistent feelings of doubt and instability; the curious ending on open octaves leaves us wondering which side prevails. The pointed Solo Gamba and Orchestral Oboe are heard in the opening lyrical section and in its reprise respectively, contrasted immediately with the breadth of the French Horn. The Tuba Mirabilis makes its declamatory statement in octaves in the final section, which then crumbles to only the 16’ Double Trumpet in the Swell. The Scherzo, by contrast, is a delightful, short work that highlights some of the beautiful flute stops of the Kegg organ. The transparent textures allow us to hear the beauty and clarity of the individual stops, which happily find a home in this playful vignette.
Percy Whitlock (1903-1946) was highly regarded as an organist during his short lifetime. He was employed full-time at the Bournemouth Pavilion, which housed a four-manual Compton organ for which he composed multiple works. Whitlock’s musical language encompassed a number of different influences, including modality, folk-inspired melodies, and allusions to composers such as Vierne, Rachmaninoff, Elgar, Mendelssohn, and even Gershwin.1 His Fantasie Chorale No. 2 shows strong influences of the folk style of Ralph Vaughan Williams, presenting a melody in the Aeolian mode around which the work is crafted. A free-form set of variations follows the initial statement of the melody, which culminate in a fugue. We see the influence of Whitlock’s large Compton organ in this work through the diverse color stops employed (French Horn, Clarinet, Oboe, solo flute, strings), quick registration changes, and sweeps in dynamics that range from a single stop to full organ, including the one and only entrance of the en chamade Neumann Trumpet.
Little has been written about the life and music of American composer Edward Shippen Barnes (1887-1958). A native of New Jersey, Barnes graduated from Yale University before continuing his study in Paris with Louis Vierne, Vincent d’Indy, and Abel Decaux. His works reveal just how significant his study abroad must have been, engendering a European accent in his harmonic language. His career was spent split between the east and west coasts, ending with a twenty-year post in Santa Monica, California. While his two organ symphonies have been recorded, the remainder of his solo organ works, choral compositions, and pieces of church music have not received equal attention. This presentation of the Seven Sketches, op. 34 (1923) therefore represents the first recording of the whole set.
The playful Pastorale jauntily cycles through some of the most colorful stops in the instrument: the English Horn, Hohlpfeife and other flutes, French Horn, and a “minor tuba” utilizing the Great 8’ Trumpet and the Kegg Ensemble stop (playing three Principals at 8’ pitch). Barnes assumes a Karg-Elert-like penchant for harmony in the Chanson, which takes advantage of the instrument’s various (and quietest) celestes. The hymn tune Shining Shore was composed by 19th-century American composer George F. Root, who said that the melody sang itself along in his mind as he read the text for which he wrote it, “My days are gliding swiftly by, And I, a pilgrim stranger.“2 Barnes’ setting, the melody is presented through its entirety, showcasing again the Orchestral Oboe, 8’ foundations, and flutes. Barnes employed a strongly French harmonic language to the Esquisse. The Dupré-like vignette is heard here on the cornets and reeds, a sound often associated with French instruments. By contrast, the delightful Canzona is a light-hearted trio that juxtaposes the Swell 4’ Clarion in the 8’ octave and the “minor French Horn” (Choir 8’ Diapason and 8’ Stopped Flute), accompanied by the Great 4’ Koppelflute. A scherzo-like Caprice follows with playful, energetic scales on the incisive strings and the bubble of the Solo Doppelflute. The slow central section presents the full crescendo of strings with the Swell Vox Humana, the Antiphonal Vox making a brief appearance at the light-hearted conclusion. The Fugue stands somewhat in contrast to the remaining sketches in its seriousness. Though brief, Barnes demonstrates his ability to craft thoughtful counterpoint in a compact form.
At a time when many composers were turning towards expanded tonality and atonality, Herbert Howells (1892-1983) remained steeped in the lush harmonic language of the Romantic era, saying that he “composed out of sheer love of trying to make nice sounds.”3 While the Psalm-Preludes receive the most attention, the Three Rhapsodies, op. 17 from the years 1915-1918, show the mastery of his composition. Inspired by immense churches and architecture, many of Howells’s works, including the first Rhapsody, follow arch forms that bring to mind images of vast spaces. Said to be “tinged with a nostalgic Victorianism,”4 the Rhapsody, op. 17, no. 1, begins and ends with the Swell 8’ Clarabella alone and grows to a full, impassioned fortissimo at the heart of the work. It was written around 1916, shortly after Howells had been diagnosed with a disease that he was told might claim his life in six months. The intense emotion that begins as a questioning thought grows to a full outcry before the stillness and calm of the closing leave a feeling of resignation and peace.
The Sonata Eroïca, op. 94, by Joseph Jongen (1873-1953) has been recognized as the “apotheosis” of his organ works.5 Dedicated to the virtuoso titulaire organist of St-Eustache in Paris, Joseph Bonnet, the work emerged as a commission for the new organ at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.6 The dated manuscripts indicate that the work was likely composed in a five-day period in September of 1930. Originally titled Variations, the work opens with a declamatory, crashing section with thick, punctuated chords before which the theme emerges: a modal, folk-like melody in C-sharp minor. True to the original title of the piece, two variations follow with no alteration to the theme, at which time Jongen breaks from a strict variation form and turns to much more rhapsodic writing. Like the development section of a traditional sonata, the central portion of the Sonata Eroïca moves freely between sweeping arpeggios and flares of flashing brilliance before yielding to a haunting beautiful elaboration of the theme on a solo flute with string accompaniment. Another energetic transitional section with pedal scales ends abruptly at the commencement of a fugue-finale. Toccata-like manual figurations pave the way for the theme’s final, heroic statement in the pedal on the grandeur of full organ.
1 Percy Whitlock Trust, 2014, www.percywhitlocktrust.org.uk
2 Lester Hostetler, Handbook to the Mennonite Hymnary (Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Publishing House, 1949), 504.
3 Phillip A. Cooke and David Maw, eds., The Music of Herbert Howells (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2013), 115.
4 John France, liner notes to Howells from Salisbury, David Newsholme, Regent REGCD406, CD, 2012.
5 John Scott Whiteley, Joseph Jongen and His Organ Music (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1997), 61.
6 Ibid., 62.
Called “a rising star definitely worth watching” (Michael Barone, Pipedreams) and “unusually able and sensitive” (The American Organist), Adam Pajan is Instructor of Organ and Shop Technician at the University of Oklahoma’s American Organ Institute, where he teaches students in organ performance and organ technology. He received his DMA in 2014 under John Schwandt following studies at Furman University and Yale University, earning the BM and MM degrees under the tutelage of Charles Tompkins, Martin Jean, and Thomas Murray respectively. His performing career has taken him across the United States and to Germany multiple times, playing in the great cathedrals of Mainz, Magdeburg, Fulda, and Altenberg and other historical churches.
Dr. Pajan has been recognized as the first prize recipient in three national competitions (Albert Schweitzer, Arthur Poister, and Ruth and Clarence Mader) and received the Firmin Swinnen Second Prize in the inaugural Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition in 2013. Adam’s accomplishments were recognized in being named one of The Diapason magazine’s “20 Under 30” of 2016, an award established to acknowledge individuals who are “setting the pace for the future of the pipe organ, harpsichord, carillon, and church music.” His playing has been heard at conventions of the American Institute of Organbuilders, Organ Historical Society, and the American Guild of Organists. An enthusiastic church musician, he serves as Organist and Choir Director at St. Mark the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Oklahoma Master Chorale, and Dean of the Southern Plains Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Adam was recently named Artist in Residence at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tulsa, where he will collaborate with resident musician Joseph Arndt on Evensong and concert programs, education, and outreach, and where he has served in an advisory role in the design of the new Schoenstein pipe organ, due for installation in 2018. For more information, please visit www.adampajan.com.
Organ History of the Basilica
The first organ in the current edifice was built in 1874 by the Derrick & Felgemaker Pipe Organ Company of Erie, Pennsylvania, the firm’s op. 253. The organ was dedicated in a concert played on May 15, 1874, by composer and organist Alois Francis Lejeal (1840-1920), founder in 1862 of a conservatory in New York City and secretary/treasurer of the organ firm.
That organ was replaced in 1924 by successors to the Felgemaker firm, the Tellers-Kent Organ Company of Erie, retaining some pipes in the new, 3-manual, 25-stop instrument (op. 302). An electronic was used as the Tellers pipe organ fell from favor and maintenance in the 1960s. The electronic was replaced in 1978 by a 78-rank pipe organ comprising two E. M. Skinner organs: op. 221 of 1913 from First United Methodist Church, Akron, Ohio, and op. 452 of 1924 from Carnegie Free Library, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; as well as parts acquired from other discarded organs, or made new. Because much of the 1978 organ was not renovated before its installation, deterioration led to malfunction within a few years. In 2001, the Basilica engaged Charles E. Kegg of Kegg Pipe Organ Builders to create a new organ and its new, neo-Gothic organ case in the (liturgical) West gallery. Installation began in January, 2004, and it was first played for the Easter Vigil of 2004. It was blessed and consecrated on Sunday, September 12, 2004, followed by a dedication recital played by Robert Sullivan, Basilica organist and director of music.
Retained from the previous organ and refurbished are the English Horn, Orchestral Oboe, Clarinet, Cornopean, Tuba, Neumann Trumpet, Doppelflute, and eight sets of celestes. In March, 2008, the Antiphonal organ was rebuilt by the Kegg firm, adding a 16’ Pedal stop.
Kegg Pipe Organ Builders is located in Hartville, Ohio, which is near Canton in the northeast part of the state. The firm was established in 1985 by Charles Kegg after eleven years of work with organbuilders Schantz, Casavant, and A. R. Schopp’s Sons.
2004 Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, Hartville, Ohio
Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Canton, Ohio
4 manuals, 76 ranks
GREAT Man. 2
16’ Contra Trumpet (TC)
8’ French Horn (SO)
SWELL Man. 3
16’ Lieblich Gedeckt
8’ Open Diapason
8’ Voix Celeste
8’ Unda Maris (TC)
IV Plein Jeu
16’ Double Trumpet
16’ Oboe (tc)
8’ Vox Humana
CHOIR Man. 1
8’ Open Diapason
8’ Stopped Flute
8’ Flute Celeste (tc)
8’ Dolce Celeste (tc)
8’ Tuba Mirabilis (SO)
SOLO Man. 4
8’ Gross Gamba
8’ Gross Gamba Celeste
8’ Orchestral Oboe
8’ English Horn
8’ French Horn
16’ Contra Trumpet (GT)
8’ Trumpet (GT)
8’ Cornopean (CH)
8’ Oboe (SW)
8’ Clarinet (CH)
4’ Clarion (GT)
8’ Tuba Mirabilis
8’ Blair Trumpet
8’ Neumann Trumpet (en chamade)
String FF Ensemble†
String PP Ensemble†
16’ Bourdon (PD)
8’ Voix Celeste (tc)
8’ Flute Celeste II
8’ Unda Maris II
4’ Unda Maris II
8’ Vox Humana
8’ Trumpet Magna
Antiphonal to Solo
Antiphonal to Swell
Antiphonal to Great
Antiphonal to Choir
Antiphonal to Pedal
32’ Lieblich Gedeckt*
16’ Open Diapason
16’ Violone (GT)
16’ Lieblich Gedeckt (SW)
8’ Swell Diapason
8’ Choir Diapason
8’ Lieblich Gedeckt (SW)
4’ Super Octave
4’ Still Flute
32’ Contra Trombone
32’ Harmonics (derived)
16’ Trumpet (SW)
4’ Clarinet (CH)
4’ Oboe (SW)
* 12 notes electronic
The Basilica of St. John the Baptist
The first building of the St. John the Baptist Church in Canton, Ohio, dates to 1823-1824. The the current structure was designed in 1872 by James Renwick (1818-1895). Renwick’s neo-Gothic building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 on its 150th anniversary. Adorned with stained glass lower and clerestory windows and terra cotta Stations of the Cross, both originating from around 1900, the church is made beautiful through its artistic appointments and generous acoustic.
In 2012, St. John the Baptist was elevated to a Minor Basilica of the Catholic Church through the efforts of the pastor, Reverend Ronald M. Klingler, Director of Music Robert Sullivan, and a dedicated team of parishioners. The Ombrellino (the umbrella that would shade the Pope during a procession) and Tintinnabulum (the bell to be rung to announce the arrival of the Pope) stand in the sanctuary as traditional symbols of the Basilica. The Elevation Liturgy was held on Christ the King Sunday on November 25, 2012, marking St. John the Baptist as the only Basilica in the Diocese of Youngstown.