Works for Organ by J.S. Bach, Durufle, Guilmant, Handel, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner and Widor

Johann Sebastian Bach, Maurice Duruflé, Alexandre Guilmant, George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, Charles Marie Widor

A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ
First Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Georgia


"The repertoire was well-chosen by organist Richard Morris to demonstrate both the finesse and power of the finished instrument...The recording is gratifyingly warm and registers all lines clearly, no matter how complex the musical texture or extreme the dynamic compass. The quieter music is nothing short of ravishing. Morris is wholly convincing in each of the stylistic subsets found on this offering. He finds the right tempo for each piece and demonstrates a fine command of registrational color."
Fanfare - January / February 2008
"The recital is nothing if not eclectic, including music by Handel, Wagner, Duruflé, Widor, Mendelssohn, Bach, Schumann and Guilmant. Each work is filtered through the distinctive romantic character of the Schlueter organ …The final piece…shows Morris and the organ to perfection. If you enjoy the sound of the American symphonic pipe organ from the 1940s and 1950s then buy this disc. Richard Morris displays a superb technique, coupled with a dazzling control of the tonal colours provided by the organ."
MusicWeb International - January 2008
"Richard Morris' MSR recording of this outstanding instrument deserves a wide hearing. The Franco-German repertoire Morris has chosen perfectly suits this organ's noticeable warmth and clarity of tone."
Atlanta Audio Society - December 2007
"[Richard Morris] plays with great note accuracy."
American Record Guide - November / December 2007
The dictionary defines "grand" as "magnificent in appearance, size, or style." And so it is that whatever Richard Morris plays has a "grand" element, both in choice and execution. These elements are the result of a personal musical approach that is the result of his study of the shaping of some of the most noble names in the 20th century organ world: Virgil Fox, Catherine Crozier, and Richard Hauser of the Academy of Music, Vienna.
The choice of repertoire for this recording was entirely Richard’s--again a reflection of the musical traditions of himself, his teachers, and his peers. Of course, all who know Richard know that the latter element would not be significant if it varied from his personal muse. But this music–chosen from several centuries of organ literature– represents musical thought that is very much in line with the "sine qua non" approach to which Richard aspires.
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Our desire was to build an organ for the First Presbyterian Church that would visually and tonally complement their 1940’s era sanctuary. Sixty years elapsed before that vision became reality. As the organ committee evaluated organs they found consensus that the work of the American firm of Aeolian-Skinner was a tonal philosophy that they found pleasing. The Schlueter firm was chosen to build this new instrument and develop a specification that adapted the 1940’s-1950’s period that is commonly expressed as "American Classical."  These instruments found favor with their ability to provide choral and congregational accompaniment with a purposeful regard for playing a wide variety of organ literature. Many know that under the fingers of such luminaries as the late Virgil Fox this uniquely American tonal philosophy found wide acceptance. We were charged with building an instrument that has roots in our recent past while maintaining our client’s desires and our tonal philosophy. The completed instrument is 48 ranks in size and completely expresses our goal to build instruments that "have clarity not at the expense of warmth, and warmth not at the expense of clarity."
This is the second recording of the First Presbyterian organ. The first was by Tom Alderman, and contains a number of "warhorses" that are often heard in a dedicatory recital. It was and is a thrilling recording with which we were very pleased and which shows the varied nature of this instrument. However, when our firm considered a second recording on this instrument we wanted to showcase this tonal ideal as it might be heard with Virgil Fox. Our hope was to produce a timeless recording. The choice of Richard Morris was only natural, as he has steadily carried forward the Fox tradition. While he would be the first to deny that he is a substitute, there are subtle style and registration choices that present the chosen literature in a manner very reminiscent of "The Dish" (as Virgil was known). It was and is a "Grand Tradition" which our firm has been privileged to continue with this new instrument.
The Organ
The new organ for First Presbyterian Church in Savannah was conceived as a three manual instrument that pays homage to the American-Classic tonal ideal. The scaling and robust voicing of this organ is designed to enhance the choral and congregational accompaniment of this dynamic congregation. The visual presentation of the organ was designed to compliment the existing stained glass window in the front chancel wall. The new oak cases flank this window with pipes from the 16’ register of the Pedal Division. The organ is controlled via a custom three manual moveable drawknob console that features playing accoutrements such as multiple memory levels, transposer, programmable crescendo and sforzando, a performance recorder for playback/record, and full MIDI preset stop registration capability.
The Organ Builder
A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company is a family firm established in the Atlanta area in 1973. We have grown to a staff of 32, but still enjoy the benefits of intimate working relationships. Our seasoned staff has experience building, installing and maintaining some of America’s significant instruments. We recognize that the instruments we build will have a lifespan beyond our own, and this guides our emphasis on quality and long term durability. We are concerned with each individual church and developing the type of sound they desire. The result is that each organ we build has its own unique sound. We realize the importance of our work because our organs are used to lead worship, aurally minister to the congregants and to celebrate God. Our company logo incorporates our motto "Soli Deo Gloria" — to God Alone be the Glory.
Concerto No.2 in B-flat major, Op.4
RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)
Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (Transcribed by Archer Gibson)
Choral varié sur le theme du "Veni Creator", Op.4
Andante sostenuto from Symphonie Gothique, Op. 70
Sonata I in F minor, Op.65
Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532
Sketch in D-flat major, Op.58 No.3
March on a theme by Handel

MSR Classics