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Winter 2023. 403

Contemporary organs in Panama City

Dr Michał Szostak

Following my previous description of musical experiences and impressions from South and Latin Americas gained during a 17-day recital tour in June of 2022, this article describes two contemporary organs I met in Panama City. Admittedly, the organ landscape in Latin America is not broad, but the topic is worthy of consideration from organ building and organ music perspectives. The historical Spanish influences, the domination of the Roman Catholic church and, equator-type weather are the main determinants of the Panamian organ landscape and our considerations.

The Republic of Panama is a transcontinental country traversing the southern part of North America and the northern part of South America. Costa Rica borders it to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and the Caribbean Sea to the north. Its capital and largest town is Panama City, with the metropolitan area being home to nearly half the country’s population, estimated at 4.3 million citizens in total. Around 65% of the population is Mestizo (mixed white, Native American), 12% Native American, 9% Black or African descent, 7% mulatto, and 7% White. Spanish is the official and dominant language, although the language spoken in Panama is known as Panamanian Spanish. WITH FULL SPECIFICATIONS

Composers of Organ Music Anniversaries in 2023

John Collins

In 2023, there are several composers for organ whose anniversaries can be commemorated, although some of the dates are not known for certain; some of the names listed below will need no introduction but there are also quite a few lesser-known names whose compositions are well worth exploring. No claim is made for completion, and there is no guarantee that every edition mentioned is in print – there may also be complete or partial editions by other publishers, some of which may be difficult to obtain. Publishers’ websites have been given where known. Details of a small number of composers whose preserved output consists of only a few pieces have been omitted.

William Byrd ca. 1540-1623  Organist at Lincoln cathedral and later at the Chapel Royal he composed much sacred and secular vocal music which was printed. Many of his around 150 or so keyboard pieces – the majority being Pavans and Galliards, mainly in pairs, variations on popular tunes, a handful of plainchant settings, Fantasias, Preludes, Voluntaries and Grounds – are found mainly in two manuscripts, The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and My Ladye Nevell’s Book.

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St Sepulchre’s, Holborn Viaduct , London

Charles Stowe (1905)

Any visitor to London in the Middle Ages who approached the Metropolis by the western end, through Holborn (or Oldbourne, as it was then called), must have been greatly impressed by the exceeding splendour of the ecclesiastical architecture displayed on every side of him. The glorious domineering pile of old St Paul’s, with its spire rising to a height of 550 feet (at least 120 feet higher than the existing spire of Salisbury Cathedral); the large conventional churches of Greyfriars on the left, and Blackfriars on the right; in the distance, the great collegiate church of St Martin-le-Grand (the site of which is now [1905] occupied by the Post Office), to say nothing of countless towers and spires belonging to the smaller but nevertheless stately parish churches, must indeed have presented an overwhelming ensemble of devotional art. WITH FULL SPECIFICATIONS

Axel Rouff, complete organ music part IV

Cornelis Witthoefft

Unlike the previous chapters in this survey of Axel Ruoff’s organ music, each of which has endeavoured to inform the listener with an overview of his œuvre by means of a large number of short compositions, this fourth instalment discusses three major and distinctive works from the past seventeen years. They represent three distinct genres – a set of chorale variations, a suite and a symphony – reflecting the composer’s relationship to the instrument and the various strands of tradition in which it is involved, at the time of composition.

Axel Ruoff was born in Stuttgart on 24 March 1957. From 1975 to 1979 he studied composition, music theory and piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts in his native city, where his teachers included Milko Kelemen, Rolf Hempel and Erhard Karkoschka; he also spent some time at the Music Academies in Kassel and Helsinki. WITH MUSIC EXAMPLES

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