A FESTIVE PROCLAMATION
Samual Adler, Johann Sebastian Bach, Eric Ewazen, Cesar Franck, George Frideric Handel, Charles-Marie Widor
WILLIAM NEIL, organ
Aeolian Skinner Organ
The National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.c
Chris Gekker, Trumpet
Delores Ziegler, Mezzo-Soprano
Alice Kogan Weinreb & Nicolette Oppelt, Flutes
"This thrilling recital showcases the power and versatility of the John Jay Hopkins Memorial Organ and the musical talents of William Neil...Neil rips into [Bach's] D minor Toccata and Fugue [on a ] grand performance which exploits both the mighty instrument and the resonant space...Gregory K. Squires sumptuous recording qualifies this CD for audiophile demonstration purposes."
The Gramophone, Awards Issue 2005
"This instrument is one of the finest...creations of the Aeolian-Skinner firm...William Neil offers a scintillating performance of Adler's Festive Proclamation...spirited...finely played...imbued with tender affection..."
The American Organist, September 2005
"This collection provides... a striking cross section of William Neil's interpretive prowess...The Bach pieces are given atmospheric and loving performances...particularly moving...a fine performance...Ewazen's A Hymn for the Lost and the Living is alone worth the price of admission...[the Widor excerpts) are done with requisite panache..."
Fanfare - May/June 2005
"William Neil fulfills his duties brilliantly...[This is a] varied and incessantly diverting program...Gleaming and lifelike recorded sound adds immeasurably to the experience"
Tim Page, The Washington Post
PROGRAM NOTESOrganist and Harpsichordist of the National Symphony Orchestra, William Neil is well-known for his performances of traditional and contemporary organ music. Prior to his appointment in 2001 as Organist of The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., he served as Organist of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago. He has performed as soloist with the National Symphony under the batons of Slatkin, Rostropovich, Siciliani, Hogwood, Brown and Garcia, and is featured in recordings on Philips, Sony, Naxos, Summit and Newport Classics.
Mr. Neil is active as chamber soloist and continuo player with period and modern instrument ensembles, performing music from the 18th to 21st centuries. In concerts with the New York Trumpet Ensemble, Chicago’s Millar Brass Ensemble, and Washington Symphonic Brass, as well as appearances at national and international festivals with many of the world’s noted brass musicians, his reputation as "the trumpeters’ organist" has become well-established. His devotion to music for organ and instruments prompted a Washington Post critic to refer to him as "a unique keyboardist …an organist who has gone out of his way to play chamber music." Mr. Neil is the first Washington organist invited to perform on the Charles Fisk Organ at the Meyerson Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, he was a featured soloist in the inaugural concerts of the new Casavant Organ at Robert Jacoby Hall with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, performing Samuel Barber’s Toccata Festiva. A champion of contemporary music, Mr. Neil brings to the listener two new works on this CD, Samuel Adler’s Festive Proclamation and Eric Ewazen’s A Hymn for the Lost and the Living.
William Neil grew up in Central Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University and Syracuse University. Inspired by the teaching of organists Leonard Raver, Arthur Poister, and Will Headlee, and harpsichordist Anthony Newman, Mr. Neil has enjoyed a career both onstage and in the classroom, serving the faculties at George Mason University and The Catholic University of America as organ instructor. Many of his former students hold prominent academic and church music positions in the U.S. and around the world.
GEORGE FREDERIC HANDEL
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
ERIC EWAZEN (b.1954)