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Organist Jared Johnson at the Skinner Organ at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church
Photo of organ pipes in the Paul Fritts organ in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph

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pipeorgancds @LincsCathedral fourth and fifths make sure there are no inconsistent tempers. Now how many people will get this ;-)

Ken Cowan | Seamless Crescendo and Decrescendo on Small Pipe Organ

An orchestra is capable of the softest pianissimos and very loud fortississimo. Few single instruments has this ability. Pipe organs have this dynamic range.

But, great skill and talent is required to seemlessly move sound of a pipe organ through such a crescendo. On a larger pipe organ it is easier to accomplish this seamless progression, but on a smaller instrument it is much more difficult. On a smaller pipe organ stops have to be very carefully chosen and swell box movements carefully planned out. In this video organist Ken Cowan demonstrates the perfect example of dynamic control of a pipe organ. He plays Franz Liszt's Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen. It starts off on a soft flute on the choir organ, with swelling of the choir box and then builds to full organ and back down. Mr. Cowan's control is so great and precise that as the piece moves forward the changes in dynamic and tone color all melt into one another.


If you enjoyed this video visit our website for a recording of this same work but played on a massive 4-manual Skinner Organ with 32-Stops and a very complete solo organ.


The pipe work on this organ was restored by A.R. Schopp's Sons of Alliance Ohio, David Schopp restored all of the reeds on the pipe organ to their current glorious sound. The organ was reinstalled by Quimby Pipe Organs who also over saw the restoration and upgrading of the organ console.


Ken Cowan is Associate Professor and head of the organ program at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas and is represented for organ recitals by Karen McFarlane Artists