Organ Works
FRANK SPELLER Organ Works TROY049 - Price: $16.99
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Reverent choral and organ works in the style of an American Britten.

The American composer and organist Frank Speller teaches organ and harpsichord at the University of Texas in Austin. He has degrees from the University of Colorado and Indiana University. About his music he writes: "Music has far greater power than merely to please or displease. Its capacity to bring inner richness and harmony has been commonly acknowledged throughout the history of music. J.S. Bach, for example, said that a good basso continuo was good for the soul. That is why the majority of my music is religious in nature. Even the Passacaglia is a description of the joy of something bigger than any of us. My intention is always present, even though it is sometimes realized in playful ways." The instrument used in this recording is one of the largest tracker-action organs in the United States: a musical and engineering feat which, if not for its quality of craftsmanship and sound, would alone mark it as noteworthy. A "tracker" is a flat strip of wood that conveys the action of the keyboard of "manual" directly to the organ pipes. Although many of the organ's functions are electronically controlled, such as the stop action and the computer memory piston system, the trackers are traditional wooden linkages whose origins date back at least 2000 years. The organ has 5,315 pipes that range from the giant 16 foot principals to pipes smaller than an ordinary pencil. The sound on this recording is astonishingly dynamic and realistic.
Contents:
Frank Speller, composer
Toccata, The Majesty of Christ
Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Four Chorale Preludes
Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Mass of Saint Louis
University of Texas Concert Chorale, Patrick Gardner, conductor, Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Passacaglia
Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Prelude and Fugue in A Flat Major, Ecumenical
Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Gloria Patri
University of Texas Concert Chorale, Patrick Gardner, conductor, Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Psalm 19, The Heavens declare the glory of God
Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Four Biblical Dances for Organ
Frank Speller, organ


Frank Speller, composer
Hail Mary
University of Texas Concert Chorale, Patrick Gardner, conductor


Frank Speller, composer
Te Deum
Frank Speller, organ

Review:
"The composer's organ performances must be considered definitive. The best moments capture an improvisational excitement. The large Dutch-inspired Visser-Rowland organ at Bates Recital Hall (the University of Texas, Austin) impresses in this recording with a cohesive ensemble rather than individual colors or brute strength. Patrick Gardner leads the University of Texas Concert Chorale in disciplined, musical performances. Dr. speller may not press into uncharted compositional territory, but he explores a wide range of expression to communicate his belief in music's capacity to bring inner richness and harmony." (The Diapason)
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