Robert McCormick improvisation

This improvisation was recorded on the recently restored Aeolian-Skinner Opus 948 at St. Mark's Church, Locust Street, Philadelphia, in the week before the Feast of Christ the King, so I had in mind the hymn tunes Coronation and Diademata, upon which it is based.

It can be a slightly disconcerting experience to improvise only for a microphone and camera, as most of the time an improvisation is either in the context of liturgy (when it will generally have a very particular function) or for a recital (usually on submitted themes). In both such instances, either the liturgical action or the particulars of the recital (including the presence of an audience) dictate to a large extent how the improvisation takes shape.

Nonetheless, my aim was to present the themes in an organized fashion, while displaying many of the beautiful colors of the restored organ, from its majestic tutti, to shimmering flutes, and colorful reeds, both intimate and powerful.