John Fenstermaker plays French Organ Music (1979)

Balbastre, Dandrieu, Guilain, Alain, , Vierne, Widor

John Fenstermaker

Ever since the twelfth century when Léonin and Pérotin as organists of Notre-Dame in Paris helped make France the musical center of western civilization, the organ in France has maintained a vitality and popularity peculiar to that country. The rich melodic mine of Gregorian chant, the unbroken emphasis on liturgical improvisation, the imaginative and innovative developments in organ building: all these have been factors in a strong tradition which has produced such composers and performers as Francois Couperin, César Franck and Olivier Messiaen. This recording is a sampling of the last two and one-half centuries of French organ music. Grace Cathedral is an especially appropriate setting 

 

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John Fenstermaker

John Fenstermaker is organist and choirmaster of Grace Cathedral. He began the study of piano at the age of seven and the organ at fourteen. He was a choirboy at Trinity Parish in Indianapolis, his home town. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, with high honors in French and music, and a Master's degree from the College of Church Musicians in Washington, D.C. He studied at the Sorbonne (University of Paris) and with Andre’ Marchal, noted French organist and scholar.

In Washington he studied composition with Leo Sowerby. He is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists, and was a Fellow in Harpsichord at Tanglewood (Berkshire Music Center) under Igor Kipnis. He has translated Marcel Dupré’s Traité d’Improvisation a l’Orgue (Organ Improvisation, published by Leduc), the author’s major treatise on that subject. He was a student and assistant of Paul Callaway at the Washington National Cathedral, and studied for one year at Canterbury Cathedral with Allan Wicks before coming to Grace Cathedral in 1971.

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John Fenstermaker plays French Organ Music (1979)

Balbastre, Dandrieu, Guilain, Alain, , Vierne, Widor

John Fenstermaker

    The Absolute Sound

"Dave Wilson's choice of mikes and their placement… has captured the musical lines of these pieces with greater clarity than it is possible to hear from the usual listening positions. I have nothing but admirations for the realism they have captured."

The Absolute Sound

John Fenstermaker plays French Organ Music (1979)

Balbastre, Dandrieu, Guilain, Alain, , Vierne, Widor

John Fenstermaker

Mastering Engineer:

Bruce Brown of Puchet Sound Studio 
Puget Sound Studios received the tapes from Wilson Audiophile Recordings, LLC, in a wooden crate. Master Tapes were then catalogued in an excel spreadsheet. Each Master Tape was then inspected, cleaned with an anti-fungal solution, and then a lubricant was applied to prepare the Master Tapes for the transfer process. Approximately 8 of the first 13 reels had to be baked to reformulate the binding. This was done in an incubator at 135 degrees for 24  hours and then they were left to cool back down to room temperature for the next 24 hours. All splices were inspected and repaired, if necessary. 

Note:David Wilson utilized two Schoeps transformerless omnidirectional condenser microphones to capture the unique sound of Grace Cathedral. Extensive tests spanning more than fourteen months had eliminated numerous other microphone configurations. The Schoeps consistently exhibited the smoothest frequency response, lowest IM distortion, and the least midrange nasality of any of the units tested. The microphones were carefully spaced to minimize out-of-phase bass pickup. Coincident pairs of capsules were tested and rejected for this record because, while sounding accurate over headphones, they simply did not provide to the listener of loudspeakers a convincing sense of the cathedral’s spacious ambience. A custom-built vacuum tube microphone preamp was found to yield the most natural tonal and spatial characteristics. Scotch 250 Studio Mastering Tape was selected because of its superior S/N ratio and low asperity modulation. Lacquers were cut using high quality half-speed mastering, with minimal signal processing, at the JVC Cutting Center. Superb matrixing at Sheffield Lab produced flawless stampers.
Recording Engineer:David Wilson, Craig Good
Recording location:Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Recording Type & Bit Rate:Analog to DSD64

This album was recorded to Analog tape. It was then transferred to the DSD bit rate indicated above.

Quality & Channel Selection Digitized at Analog to DSD64
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Album Download duration price
Wson794: John Fenstermaker plays French Organ Music
00:40:28   Select quality & channels above
Tracks
1.
Recueil de noels formant 4 suittes: Suite No. 2 - I. Votre bonte grand Dieu
Balbastre
00:06:50   Select quality & channels above
2.
Offertoire - Muzete
Dandrieu
00:03:23   Select quality & channels above
3.
Pieces d'orgue pour le Magnificat: Suite du premier ton
Guilain
00:09:40   Select quality & channels above
4.
Litanies, AWV 100
Alain
00:05:20   Select quality & channels above
5.
Organ Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 20 - II. Choral
, Vierne
00:08:30   Select quality & channels above
6.
Organ Symphony No. 6 in G Minor, Op. 42, No. 2 - II. Adagio
Widor
00:06:45   Select quality & channels above

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