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Organ and Flugelhorn Together: A Sweet, New Sound

Flugelhornist Andrew Ennis and Wanamaker Grand Court Organist Peter Richard Conte.

The Grand Court Wanamaker symphonic organ pairs with a lesser-known member of the brass family to provide an engaging new take on old favorites of opera and classical repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the pioneering sound.


Radio Script: 

Susan Lewis: Organ and flugelhorn? 

Peter Richard Conte: There’s a lot for trumpet and organ, but not for flugelhorn and organ. We’ve done our own arrangements.

SL: Using their own arrangements, Peter Richard Conte plays the Wanamaker Organ with Andrew Ennis on  flugelhorn, whose silky, soulful sound is somewhere between a trumpet and a French horn.

Andrew Ennis: From concert B flat to concert G flat is probably my sweet range… 

SL: In addition to opera arias with the flugelhorn on the vocal line, their repertoire includes works where the organ and flugelhornconverse like two soloists.

AE:  One of the pieces, the Charles Gounod’sFuneral March of a Marionette. Somebody plays a short phrase; the next person plays another phrase. We constantly bounce back and forth.

SL: Other pieces showcase the instruments in unexpected ways. Consider Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Procession of the Nobles. 

PC: I’m using one of the biggest stops on the Wanamaker Organ - this huge tuba. Andrew comes in, we're in dialogue with these fanfares. And you’d swear they’re completely matched. It's like, what is that you're hearing? It’s the same instrument in a whole different light.

SL:  Conte and Ennis perform live around the country. Their recently released CD, My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice: Wanamaker Organ and Flugelhorn - which includes works by Puccini, Verdi, Hebbel, Debussy, Elgar, Granger and others - is a Gothic release.

LIsten to Peter Conte andAndrew Ennis talk with WRTI's Susan Lewis about the fun and challenges in arranging new repertoire for organ and flugelhorn.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.