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Passages on the Journey: Organ Music of Angela Kraft Cross - [OAR-179] $15.98

Angela Kraft Cross plays organ works she composed 2013 to 2022. She plays the famous organ at Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, Massachusetts, the largest organ in the USA when it was new in 1863, with more than 5,000 pipes (see history, below).

Music by Angela Kraft Cross:
Variations on Ode to Joy (2020)
Tree of Life (2013)
Healing Waters (2022)
Grand Lothbury Voluntary (2014)

Petite Messe d’Orgue (2018-19):
   Kyrie eleison
   Agnus Dei

St. Bede’s Voluntary (2017)
Fantasie on Ubi Caritas (2019)
Archangel Fantasie (2021)
La Pietà (2021)
Fantasie on Arirang (2017)

Journey to Wholeness “To Make Man Whole” (2017):
   In Health and Sickness

All of the music on this album is published by The Sacred Music Press, a division of the Lorenz Corporation. Here's a link to the sheet music on the Lorenz website:

Passages on the Journey
by Angela Kraft Cross

Variations on Ode to Joy (2020)

These variations on Ode to Joy, in contrast to classical and romantic variations, are inspired by analytical cubism, asking the question, “How might Picasso approach writing a set of variations?” So, instead of being a collection of discrete variations, they are a nearly continuous patchwork quilt of variation snippets humorously interrupting each other.

Tree of Life (2013)
Written to commemorate the art windows of the same name created in 2013 by Gordon Huether for our sanctuary at the Congregational Church of San Mateo, the music emulates the the pentaptych of the windows with five seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall, and winter, with the metallic oak trunk connecting the windows thematically and the season-appropriate foliage in each window. Tree of Life was composed as a passacaglia (variations over a repeated bass melody) moving through the seasons as an analogy to the chapters of a human life: the wind and rain of the first winter leading to birth and youthfulness in spring, a carefree summer leading to school, work and the harvest of fall, the final winter celebrating a long life well-lived before the final blizzard that brings our earthly life to a close. All seasons are connected by the passacaglia bass, which is the mighty oak trunk representing the presence of God in our lives.

Healing Waters (2022)

This work is inspired by the crashing waves of the Monterey seashore, which have brought such a healing power to so many of us in our times of stress, troubles and needs. The mournful Oboe passage illustrates our perceived concerns. The cleansing waves slowly do their work until such time as enlightenment and insight occur. The final dialogue between the ocean and humanity finishes with an understanding of what must be resolved, with the ocean having the last word in its universal healing presence.

Grand Lothbury Voluntary (2014)
This jaunty trumpet voluntary is inspired by the Baroque British tradition with a contemporary sensibility. It is dedicated to the concert organist, Richard Townsend, of St. Margaret Lothbury in the City of London.

Petite Messe d’Orgue (2018-19)
I was inspired to write this small organ mass by my French organist friends playing their French Catholic masses. Kyrie eleison (Lord Have Mercy) has two halves, the first half being the obsessive-compulsive inner voice of penitence. The second half immerses that penitence into the context of God’s infinite and unconditional love, like words of assurance. Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest) begins its praise with a trumpet call and finishes with cascades of sound inspired by the pealing bells of British change-ringing. Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) is an uplifting prayer of praise including the Benedictus (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord) and the refrain, Hosanna in the Highest. Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is a tender and deeply personal prayer to Christ during the Communion meal, as the sacrificial love affirms our inner being.

St. Bede’s Voluntary (2017)
This British-inspired contemporary trumpet voluntary is dedicated to my dear friend Rani Fischer, the organist of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Menlo Park, California. It has a gentle melodic feel leading one through introspection to a moment of enlightenment.

Fantasie on Ubi Caritas (2019)
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. “Wherever charity and love are, God is there.” This beautiful Gregorian chant is featured throughout this fantasie. Early in the work is a musical illustration of a world in need. As the chant is expressed repeatedly, humanity feels progressively hopeful. In the end, the sharing of love and charity allows everyone to win. This work honors the legendary forty-year social justice ministry of Revs. Steve and Mary Hammond of Peace Community Church in Oberlin, Ohio.

Archangel Fantasie (2021)
This fantasie was commissioned by St. Michael and all Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas, for their 75th anniversary. Archangel Fantasie portrays St. Michael Archangel as a social justice warrior who overcomes oppressive forces. This reflects this church’s amazing social justice ministry.

La Pietà (2021)
Inspired by Michelangelo’s sculpture of the same name, this piece memorializes Mother Mary cradling her lifeless adult son, Jesus, in a moment of poignant Good Friday grief. Considering what the death of Christ means to us and mankind’s inhumanity to mankind, this is a prayer urging us to work for a more loving world.

Fantasie on Arirang (2017)

Written for my first organ concert trip to Seoul, Korea, this fantasie highlights a nationally beloved Korean folk song, Arirang. The story behind Arirang is complex and involves the discouragement and anger of a failed love. The dark side of Arirang is a wish that the abandoning partner would break their legs on the mountain pass of Arirang. There is also a sense that this piece suggests courage and perseverance in times of loss.

Journey to Wholeness (2017)
This small sonata was written in loving memory of Dr. Wil Alexander whose legendary career as Chaplain and Professor of Religion deeply shaped so many of us in the medical profession at Loma Linda University. He taught us to develop our own empathy as well as understand empathy’s vital role in healing. The Healing movement of Journey to Wholeness was performed by Thomas Sheehan of Washington National Cathedral as the postlude to the National Prayer Service at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris January 21, 2021.

In Health and Sickness introduces the main character’s heroic and anxiety themes both in normal times as well as when serious illness strikes. Empathy introduces an empathetic caregiver theme on the Oboe which eventually dialogues with both the heroic and anxiety themes. Healing begins as the main character tries to do too much too soon and fails, followed by re-entrance of the Empathy theme and the subsequent steady recovery and healing that happens on many levels.

The Journey of The Great Organ
by William T. Van Pelt

For this recording of some of her compositions, Angela Kraft Cross chose to play them on an organ rich in tonal distinction and variety, rich in American music history, and especially rich in its appearance and architectural pedigree.

The Great Organ is located in Methuen, Massachusetts, in a building designed by architect Henry Vaughan (1845-1917) to house it. It was relocated there second-hand in 1909 by its new owner Edward F. Searles (1841-1920). Named Serlo Hall, now Methuen Memorial Music Hall, the elaborate building was designed and  constructed over nearly a decade for Searles’ private use and was not opened for public performances until after its acquistion in 1931 by organbuilder Ernest M. Skinner (1866-1960). Skinner’s son, Richmond, operated the Methuen Organ Co. in the organ workshop attached to Serlo Hall until he and his father reorganized in 1936 as Ernest M. Skinner & Son Company (after Skinner had departed the famous Aeolian-Skinner Co.), where they built in 1937-38 the large organ for the National Cathedral in Washington, DC (a Henry Vaughan building).

Searles, heir of $21 million and real estate in San Francisco, New York, and Massachusetts at the death in 1891 of his wealthy wife, financed Methuen organbuilder James E. Treat (1837-­1915). Treat renamed his firm the Methuen Organ Company in 1898. The firm built several beautifully crafted pipe organs, but is primarily known for rebuilding and installing the huge, 64-ton organ in Searles’ Serlo Hall.

Searles acquired the organ for $1,500 at auction in 1897 from the estate of sewing-machine inventor William O. Grover, who had purchased it from the Boston Music Hall for $5,000 in 1884. Grover’s unrealized intention for the New England Conservatory to have the organ led to its storage for 13 years. The organ had cost about $60,000 when it was installed in the Boston Music Hall in 1863 and inaugurated November 2, 1863, as the largest in the United States, with 5,474 pipes and 84 registers. The organ was illuminated by a greatly novel (in 1863) electric lamp and played by several, including an introduction played by the builder, Mr. Walcker, followed by John Knowles Paine playing Bach’s Toccata in F, BWV 540.

The Boston Music Hall had been constructed in 1852 by the Boston Music Hall Association via a gift of $100,000 conferred by the Harvard Musical Association. The hall became the third home of the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston as well as the first home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1881. Physician and organ aficianado Jabez Baxter Upham was president of the BMHA in 1852, and was authorized in 1854 to acquire “an organ of the first rank.”  After four months of visiting organs and their builders in Europe, including a consultation with Franz Liszt who recommended organbuilder Friedrich Ladegast (1818-1905), he signed a contract with E. F. Walcker & Cie. of Ludwigsburg in the Kingdom of Württemberg (now Baden-Württemberg, Germany).

The huge case of the organ, housing the tallest facade pipes of burnished English tin and about 30 feet in length, was not designed or built in Europe, but in New York City by the revered cabinetmakers and interior de­signers, Gustave (1830–­18­98) and Chris­tian (1839–­1883) Herter, immigrants who oper­ated the Herter Bro­thers Co. They built it of solid American black walnut, adapting an initial design by Boston artist Ham­­matt Billings (1818–1874). After 21 years in its original home, the organ was removed in 1884 (despite significant protest) to render its space on stage to the orchestra and other events.

Upon its arrival and rebuilding in Methuen beginning ca. 1897, most of the Walcker mechanism (particularly the cone-valve, ventil windchests widely adopted in Germany after their introduction by Walcker ca. 1840) and tracker-pneumatic action was discarded. The Methuen workshop built exception­ally well made pallet-­and-­slider windchests, still working in the organ today. It received a new console, still in use though with some newer parts, with electro­pneumatic action to pneumatic pull-­down devices at the chests. Completed in Serlo Hall, the organ was heard on December 9, 1909, in a rededication concert played by Boston organist Everett E. Truette (1861-1933).

In 1946, the non-profit Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Inc., was founded by seven Methuen area residents, and Alfred C. Gaunt, textile mill operator, acquired the building and gave it to the new corporation. The Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston and its owner and president, G. Donald Harrison (1889-­1956), were commissioned to rebuild the organ with revised principal choruses and other stops revised, relocated, or replaced, and some added stops. Much of the original pipework remained relatively unaltered, yet satisfied consultants Arthur Howes, Carl Weinrich, and Ernest White, all leaders of a movement to return to what were believed to be Baroque characteristics of organs. The three consultants delivered the dedication concert on the rebuilt organ on June 24 and 25, 1947.

Since its founding in 1948, the Andover Organ Co. of Methuen has maintained and updated the organ as determined by the Methuen Memorial Music Hall Association. Some of the work has involved re-establishing the character of original Walcker stops.

Boston Music Hall
1863 E. F. Walcker, Ludwigsburg, Kingdom of Württemberg (now Baden-Württemberg, Germany)

Methuen Memorial Music Hall
1909 Methuen Organ Co (James E. Treat), relocated and rebuilt
1947 Aeolian-Skinner, Op. 1130 additions and modifications

Manual II, 61 notes, unenclosed
16 Principal*
16 Viola Major†
16 Bourdon†
8 Walcker Diapason*
8 Principal†
8 GambaH
8 Gemshorn*
8 Gedeckt†
5 Gross Quint*
4 Octave†
4 Spitzflöte*
4 Koppel Flöte†
4 Flute d’Amour®
3 Gross Terz*
2 Quint†
2 Super Octave†
2 Waldflöte*
1 Terz*
IV Mixture*
IV Fourniture*
IV Scharff*
IV Cymbal
(Kleine Mixtur)†
16 Trumpet‡
8 Trumpet‡
4 Clarion‡
Swell to Great 16 8 4
Choir to Great 16 8 4
Positiv to Great 16 8
Positive on Great

POSITIV Manual I, 61 notes, unenclosed
8 Gedackt†
8 Quintaten†
4 Principal*
4 Nachthorn†
2 Nazard†
2 Octav*
2 Blockflöte†
1 Tierce†
1 Quinta†
1 Super Octave*
III Scharff†
III Zimbel†
8 Krummhorn†
Positiv 16 Unison
Swell to Positiv 16 8 4
Choir to Positiv 16 8 4
Great on Positive

SWELL Manual III, 61 notes, enclosed
8 Principal*
8 Viole de Gambe†
8 Viole Celeste†
8 Aeoline*
8 Flûte à Cheminée†
4 Prestant*
4 Flûte Couverte*
2 Nazard*
2 Octavin*
2 Piccolo*
1 Tierce*
IV Plein Jeu*†
16 Basson†
8 Trompette†
8 Hautbois†
4 Clarion†
Swell 16 4 Unison
Choir to Swell 16 8 4

Manual IV, 61 notes, enclosed
16 Quintaten†
8 Viola*
8 Unda Maris*
8 Konzert Flöte*
4 Traverse Flöte*
2 Gemshorn*
II-III Cymbel†
16 Dulzian (Vox Humana) s or J
8 Clarinet†
4 Regal (Vox Angelica)* free reed
Choir 16 4 Unison

32 keys, 30 notes in Pedal Division
32 Principal* (open wood, six tin facade FFFF to AAAA#)
16 Principal*
16 Contra Basse†
16 Bourdon*
16 Lieblich Gedeckt*
16 Quintaten†
8 Octave*
8 Cello*
8 Spitzflöte†
5 Quint*J
4 Super Octave*
4 Nachthorn†
3 Terz J
2 Waldflöte*
IV Grand Bourdon 32*
VI Mixture†
32 Contra Bombarde* –free reed
16 Bombarde*^
16 Basson*
-free reed
8 Trompette*
4 Clarion*
2 Rohr Schalmei†
Great to Pedal 8 4
Swell to Pedal 8 4
Choir to Pedal 8 4
Positiv to Pedal 8 4

sHook & Hastings
JErnest M. Skinner & Son
^Methuen Organ Co. (Treat)

Chimes on all divisions, A2 - E4
128 memory levels
16 Generals
8 pistons/division
All Pistons Next
Register Crescendo Pedal
Swell & Choir Expr. Pedals

4 manuals
5 divisions
86 stops, 116 ranks
6,088 pipes

Most stop names
are as found on drawknobs.

Passages on the Journey: Organ Music of Angela Kraft Cross
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