Yun Kyong Kim Plays the Historic 1920 Austin Organ

Joseph Bonnet, Claude Debussy, Percy Grainger, Alexandre Guilmant, Cyril Jenkins, Albert W Ketelbey, Franz Liszt, Marcel Paponaud, Camille Saint-Saens, Guy Weitz




"most of the works are not frequently recorded, and Kim is to be commended for choosing less- familiar repertoire...  the CD makes for pleasant, light listening and is well played. Recorded sound is very good and captures the instrument well."
Carson Cooman, Fanfare - November/December 2011
"The recording engineer, editor and producer, Michael Hughes, deserves considerable praise for his care in making this recording. What a deligght to hear a disc where each track is a surprise and a revelation of beauty! Kim plays with warmth, sensitivity, flawless technique, engagement, and style. The organ sounds gorgeous, and in Kim's hands, it's no wonder."
Dimmock, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians - October 2011, Vol.20, No.8
“The 1920 Austin organ in St. Mary's Catholic Church, Dayton, Ohio, is a Romantic instrument in conception, so Yun Kyong Kim presents a program of works that are best suited to its character and its layout.… Kim has a strong sympathy for this music, as can be guessed from her frequent use of rubato and tendency to take slow tempos for sentimental or religious moods. But her period-style program is diverse… This recording was made without using compression or limiting, so the sound is as close as possible to the organ's actual timbres and physical qualities; the sound of air entering the pipes was not removed from the recording for fear of altering the natural reproduction.” [ * * * * (*) ]
Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide - 2011
"The organ in St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dayton was given the number “Opus 890” in the Austin Organ Company’s list when it was installed in 1920. The very informative booklet describes the very poor state into which it was allowed to get and the extensive renovation undertaken in 1996. What we hear on this disc is a superb instrument, with the kind of full rich variety of cantabile tone that was expected at the time of its installation, an approach very different to instruments of the French or neo-classical schools. The sheer beauty of sound as recorded here is remarkable. Better still, Yun Kyong Kim, who is organist at Christ Episcopal Church in Dayton, has chosen a programme ideally suited to the organ, even if few of the works date precisely from the same period as the instrument.

The disc begins and ends with music by Cyril Jenkins whom I had known previously only for his brass band music. Both demonstrate the note by the recording’s producer, Michael Hughes, that the dynamics have not been compressed. Fine when listening through headphones but be warned that if the start of Dawn is set so as to be clearly audible the neighbours will be very aware of its conclusion. Even if neither piece is of great musical value they are splendid demonstrations of the nature and quality of the instrument and of its recording. There is music of more substance here – the items by Saint-Saëns, Liszt and – possibly – Guilmant would be worth hearing anywhere, and a series of attractive miniatures including the organist’s own transcription of Grainger’s Colonial Song and a brightly played Toccata by Marcel Paponaud. In fact I enjoyed the programme as a whole, not least for being clearly devised for consecutive listening and for including such a delectable mixture.

Organ recitals of all types can be found in the catalogues. Too many include all too familiar potboilers regardless of the suitability or otherwise of the instrument. It is good to encounter a disc with a programme which has been so lovingly compiled and played, excellently recorded and presented with notes and photographs helpful and interesting to the listener. Perhaps neither the organ, the player nor the programme are likely to be well known to the wider musical public, but on the basis of this disc they certainly deserve to be."
John Sheppard, MusicWeb International - September 2011


When one hears the vintage Austin pipe organ in the richly resonant space of St. Mary’s Church in Dayton, Ohio, it is not difficult to be transported back to 1920s musical America. Along with Ernest M. Skinner and other organ builders of that era, the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut, flourished at creating orchestrally conceived “romantic” organs, characterized by bold yet smooth diapasons, imitative reed voices, and a wide variety of flutes and strings. This program seeks to enable the listener to explore and relive these unique sonorities of a bygone era.

ABOUT THE ARTIST - Praised by concertgoers as an artist who “stretches the limits of the instrument,” concert organist Yun Kyong Kim is passionate about bringing musically diverse programs to her audiences and is in great demand as an organ and harpsichord recitalist. Ms. Kim was born in Korea and moved to the United States at the age of sixteen. After early organ study with Carole Terry at the University of Washington, she received her doctoral degree in organ performance with minors in early music and music theory in 2005 from Indiana University at Bloomington, where her principal teachers were Christopher Young and Elisabeth Wright. She has also studied and performed in North Germany and France, and made her French debut in Paris at Sainte-Clotilde in 1997. Dr. Kim was awarded First Prize at the 1993 Northwest Regional Competition for Young Organists, and was Third Prize winner at the 2000 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance at the AGO National Convention in Seattle. Recent engagements have included solo performances at Washington National Cathedral, performing arts series at Ohio University and Miami University, and as a featured recitalist at the Region V Convention of the American Guild of Organists and two National Conventions of the Organ Historical Society. She is presently on the music faculty at Sinclair Community College and serves as organist and choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Dayton, Ohio.
ABOUT THE ORGAN - Saint Mary’s Church was founded in 1859 to serve the German population of the East Dayton area. The original church was a modestly sized edifice that served the growing parish for just over three decades before being demolished to make way for the present large Romanesque church, which was erected in 1906. It is likely that the tracker organ from the original church was installed in the new church at that time. As it was certainly undersized for the vast new building, a fund drive was initiated for the purchase of a new organ. In July 1919, a contract was signed with the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut for a large three-manual, 46-stop Romantic organ containing over 3000 pipes and boasting two identical consoles, one in the gallery with the main organ and another in the transept near the Echo organ. The dedicatory recital was performed by Dr. Marcus Kellerman on October 24, 1920.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, no mention of the organ is found in the church archives, but given the pollution of coal furnaces and incense residue from countless high Masses, the organ required cleaning and repair by 1955. The Kilgen Organ Company of Chicago was contracted to do this work, and even though Romantic organs had long since fallen out of fashion, the organ was left tonally unaltered. As years passed, the organ was heavily used but saw little in the way of regular maintenance, and by 1990 it was reaching an unplayable state. A contract was signed in 1996 by Peebles-Herzog, Inc. to restore the instrument. Emphasis was placed upon making the organ dependable, cleaning and repairing pipework, and replacing the 76 year old wiring. At this time, the transept and gallery consoles were swapped, and the “new” gallery console was updated with new keyboards and solid-state controls. The original gallery console now resides on display on the nave floor. Once again, the original 1920 tonal scheme and voicing were left intact.
As the instrument approaches its centennial, tastes have seemingly come full circle and there is again a growing appreciation for these vintage pipe organs. As so many have been lost to neglect or changes in taste, it is most fortunate that we have preserved today in the acoustical and visual splendor of St. Mary’s in the “Gem City” a rare jewel of early 20th century American Romantic organ building.

This recording was made using Sony/Philips' Direct Stream Digital (DSD) high resolution 1-bit encoding, which boasts a frequency sampling rate 128 times higher than standard CD audio.  No signal compression or limiting was used in the mastering stage, thus preserving the wide dynamic range of the original source and fully capturing the sound of this vintage instrument in its natural acoustical environment. [ ]
Cyril JENKINS (1885-1978)
Marcel PAPONAUD (1893-1988)
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Fantaisie in E-flat
Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961)
Colonial Song
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Ave Maria von Arcadelt, S.659
Joseph BONNET (1884-1944)
Elfes (Douze Pièces Nouvelles, Op.7 No.11)
Guy WEITZ (1883-1970)
Grand Choeur (Voluntary on Benedicámus Dómino)
Albert W. KETÈLBEY (1875-1959)
In a Monastery Garden (Characteristic Intermezzo)
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Première Arabesque
Alexandre GUILMANT (1837-1911)
Morceau de Concert, Op.24 (Prélude, Thème, Variations et Final)

MSR Classics