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January 25, 2009
Vol. IX, No. 3

"Come and Take a Journey with Me"
For a while there, my Rampage was going nowhere fast. It was a perfectly dreadful Rampage entitled "Deflation: The One Hope for Organists". I don't know what I was thinking. I wasn't enjoying writing it; why would anyone enjoy reading it? For the morbidly curious, I was trying to put a positive spin on this whole economic situation by saying that in the event of a deflating economy, an organist's salary will go further as prices for consumer items drop. That's why they're pumping all these billions of dollars into the system, trying to keep it inflated—they're afraid of deflation. If you're a real glutton for punishment, head right on over to Wikipedia and wallow in the Deflation page a while. But then come back when you're ready to feel better:

One last thing before we leave that subject behind. For a while I used to do polls and I thought I'd try starting that up again. The question for this Rampage is on the subject of raises:
Does your church music job generally give you an annual cost-of-living raise?

Now, enough doom and gloom. Time for a fresh perspective. That's the beauty of the Internet: Even though you're stuck in front of a computer screen, you can still get away from it all. So, I was saved from my dreadful Rampage by a website recommendation from community member Kenn Long (who also happens to be my brother). The recommended website features James Kibbie, Professor of Organ at the University of Michigan, and offers "free downloads of the complete extant organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach, recorded by Dr. James Kibbie from 2007 to 2009 on original 18th-century organs in Germany." Yee-haw!
A great destination for a virtual journey!

The first Bach composition I listened to was the Toccata & Fugue in F Major. That reminded me of the workshop I wrote about it:
WORKSHOP #3: "Fugue in F Major - Quirky Diamond In the Rough"

Then my journey really took off. I went to the Organ Department page at the University of Michigan but they didn't have much about their organs:

A quick check back at Kibbie's pages revealed a list of organs at UofM and I found a Fisk that I liked:

Not an excess of information on the Fisk so a quick jaunt over to the Fisk website was in order:

The Fisk website showed that the instrument had been played on a segment of Pipedreams. Off we go:
About 30 minutes in, you can hear Marilyn Mason playing the Fisk on Johann Pachelbel's chorale-prelude, Wie schön leuchtet.

Before that I had made a little side trip because about 14 minutes into the show, Marie-Claire Alain plays Buxtehude's Fantasy on Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern on a 1692 Arp Schnitger organ. Before I became so passionate about Bach, I was quite passionate about Buxtehude. This is a fun piece to play.

Back to the Fisk, Pipedreams had a link to other shows the instrument had been featured on:

"Bach For Springtime" was the name of a show that had Kibbie playing 5 Bach Orgelbüchlein Chorale-preludes on the Michigan Fisk, about 58 minutes in:
It's an older recording so it was in mono but it was still enjoyable. Michael Barone mentions in his commentary that the Fisk was built for the 1985 Bach anniversary.

I had to double back to the beginning of the show to listen to Bach's Prelude & Fugue in G, S. 550, played by James David Christie on the 1984 Fritts-Richards organ in Saint Alphonsus Church, Seattle, WA. Of course, I couldn't resist running over to the Fritts website:

I hope you enjoyed my journey as much as I did. It may have been virtual but this kind of travel can still be exhausting. Time to rest!

"Submit Your Photos!" I'd like to start a Community Photos page. These could be photos of organs, organists, churches. Please provide a caption describing what's in the photo and please be sure the photo is yours and not something that you copied off the internet.

That's all for now. Have a great week!

Dan Long

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