The Aeolian Organ at Duke University Chapel (2016)

Christopher Jacobson, organ

The Aeolian Opus 1785 pipe organ of Duke University Chapel in Durham, NC was built in 1932 and completely restored in 2008. It stands today, as it did over eighty years ago, as a towering testament to the twentieth-century symphonic tradition of organ building. This album presents a collection of equally twentieth-century organ compositions, transcriptions and arrangements, ranging from Irish folk tunes arranged for organ by Edwin H. Lemare and Gospels by William Bolcom, to Marcel Dupré’s monumental Trois Préludes et Fugues Op. 7 and a transcription of Sibelius’ Finlandia, all performed by Duke Chapel’s organist, Christopher Jacobson. It is the first commercial recording made on the instrument since its restoration and it gives a chance to hear the instrument’s unique voice in a way never possible before. 

It is the instrument’s unique voice which inspired Christopher Jacobson to record this album: ‘The orchestral sounds of the Aeolian organ at Duke Chapel represent a special and unique voice amongst America’s organs. Designed to rival and complement the sounds of a symphony orchestra the Aeolian’s ability to elegantly whisper and powerfully roar is paralleled by only a handful of other organs across America. Not many of these large symphonic organs have survived in their original state into the twenty-first century. This disc represents a sonic journey one-hundred years back in time to a period when these tremendous instruments were regularly heard by thousands of music lovers in homes, concert halls, and churches across America.

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Christopher Jacobson

Christopher Jacobson, FRCO, is Duke University Chapel Organist and Organist at Duke Divinity School. At Duke he instituted and oversees the Chapel Organ Scholar Program and directs the Evensong Singers in weekly Sunday afternoon Choral Evensong in Duke Chapel. Before assuming his position, Jacobson was Associate Organist at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina, and Assistant Organist at Washington National Cathedral where he assisted in training of the cathedral choirs and playing the organ for over 200 choral services annually. As a soloist, Mr. Jacobson has presented organ recitals across North America, Europe, and Australia. He has won top prizes in numerous organ competitions including the National Young Artist Competition of the American Guild of Organists, the Miami International Organ Competition, and the John R. Rodland Competition in sacred music.

In addition to performances of the organ works of César Franck and Maurice Duruflé, he has presented recitals of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach on several occasions across the United States. As an accompanist he has accompanied choirs on tours to Saint Thomas Church in New York City, Canterbury and Durham Cathedrals in England, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy. An active continuo artist, Mr. Jacobson appears regularly with the early music ensemble Three Notch’d Road in Charlottesville, Virginia, and with the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra. A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO), Mr. Jacobson holds the Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and the Sacred Music Diploma from the Eastman School of Music as well as a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction in Organ Performance from St. Olaf College. His teachers have included David Higgs and William Porter at Eastman, and John Ferguson at St. Olaf College. Christopher is a graduate of Woodberry Forest and the American Boychoir School where he was a treble chorister under James Litton. 

Photo: Mark Manring

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The Aeolian Organ at Duke University Chapel (2016)

Christopher Jacobson, organ

Producer: Blanton Alspaugh
Recording Engineer: John Newton
Recording location: Duke University Chapel, Durham, North Carolina
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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PTC5186577: The Aeolian Organ at Duke University Chapel
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Finlandia, Op.26
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Rhapsody in D-Flat Major, Op.17, No.1
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Vif, from Symphony No.2
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Irish Air, from County Derry
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Prelude and Fugue in B Major, Op.7, No.1- Prelude
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Prelude and Fugue in B Major, Op.7, No.1- Fugue
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Prelude and Fugue in F Minor, Op.7, No.2- Prelude
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Prelude and Fugue in F Minor, Op.7, No.2- Fugue
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Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, Op.7, No.3- Prelude
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Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, Op.7, No.3- Fugue
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Marche Heroique
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Jesus Loves Me
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Grand Choeur Dialogue
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