Lexington Presbyterian Church
Sunday, July 17, 2022
William McCorkle plays the C. B. Fisk pipe organ, opus 128 (2007)
Lucien H. Southard: Voluntary
Lucien H. Southard (1827-1881), born in Vermont, led an interesting life as music educator, composer, and performer, working in Boston and Norfolk. In 1868 he was appointed the first director of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, after which he worked again in Boston, and then in Augusta, Georgia.
American organists in the 18th- and early 19th-centuries adopted the term ‘voluntary’ to describe an organ composition played before, during, or following a worship service. Southard’s voluntary, like those of earlier American organists, William Selby, Benjamin Carr, and Benjamin Cross, follows in the style of the great 18th-century English organists, John Stanley, William Boyce, and Henry Heron. Patterned after their English counterparts, American pipe organs in this period were usually small, with no [or only a few] foot pedals, and containing only a few ranks of pipes. The organ in the University Chapel and Washington and Lee (built in 1872 by the American builder, Henry Erben), is a fine example. The visible casework and façade of the C. B. Fisk organ at Lexington Presbyterian was conceived by Charles Nazarian, Fisk’s designer, to resemble pipe organs of the period of the sanctuary building, particularly instruments of Thomas Appleton, the foremost 19th-century American organ builder. While the Lexington Fisk incorporates pipes and sounds allowing it to present music from many centuries and styles, the layout of the visible façade pipework is distinctly 19th-century American.