CDs of two past Tiffany Series performances are currently available for purchase for $15 each.
The Tiffany Series concert, “Celebrating the Skinner Organ,” honored Brown Memorial’s 1930 Skinner Organ, Opus 839, IV/45. The concert celebrated the 80th anniversary of the organ’s installation in Brown Memorial’s chancel.
Organists John Walker, Marvin Mills, Michael Britt and Janet Yieh presented a “breathtaking,” “magnificent” concert, according to the members of the capacity audience, many of whom were organists from the region. The program, which attendees termed “perfectly varied” and “so exciting,” included works by Guilmant, Elmore, Russell, Lefébure-Wély, Willan and Florence Price. A highlight was John Walker’s “overwhelming” performance of J.S. Bach’s “Come, Sweetest Death,” arranged at the church’s Skinner organ by Virgil Fox, Brown Memorial’s organist from 1935-1946.
Brown Memorial’s extraordinary performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” featuring the Chancel Choir and Frederick Swann as guest organist, with John Walker (Brown Memorial’s music director at the time) conducting, is available as a 3-CD set
This stunning performance in May 2009 brought the 300-member audience to its feet. “Thrilling” was the word heard over and over, as people thronged Walker, Swann and the soloists after the performance. Choir members also used the word “thrilling” to describe their experience singing the oratorio.
At the organ, Frederick Swann showed why his skill with accompaniment is legendary. Eileen Guenther, past President of the American Guild of Organists and Professor of Sacred Music at Wesley Seminary, said “I have seldom been so struck by a total musical experience.”
John Walker was specially praised for his expert pacing and his ability to achieve highly nuanced emotional expression from his finely prepared choir.