NAME: Calvin Hampton

BIRTH DATE/LOCATION:
December 31, 1938, Kittaning, Pennsylvania

DEATH DATE/LOCATION:
August 5, 1984, Port Charlotte, Florida

»
Calvin Hampton at Alice Tully Hall (c. 1981).
Photo: courtesy estate of Calvin Hampton.

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  • IDENTIFICATION AND BIO:
    Composer, Organist, Church Musician

    Calvin Hampton was renowned as an organist and composer for organ. The late Eric Routley, an authority on church music, cited Hampton as "the greatest living composer of hymn tunes." Harry Huff, his executor and successor at Calvary Church, states that Hampton was the most important American composer of organ music in the twentieth century.

    Born in Kittaning, Pennsylvania and raised in Ravenna, Ohio, Hampton was a resident of New York City from 1963 until his death from AIDS in 1984. He received his musical training at Oberlin Conservatory and Syracuse University, where his teachers were Fenner Douglass and Arthur Positer.

    Hampton was a distinguished recitalist, specializing in 19th and 20th century repertoire. He was famous for his weekly Friday Midnight concerts at Calvary Church in New York City, which he offered from 1974 to 1983. He was twice a recitalist at the national conventions of the American Guild of Organists. His organ transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition was the first modern day organ transcription and, though it was met with controversy, was broadcast and recorded, and followed-up by a transcription of Franck's Symphony in D Minor.

    Virtually every hymnal in America today contains hymn tunes and harmonizations by Calvin Hampton. In addition to hymns and other service music (including dozens of organ works and choral anthems), Hampton also wrote important works for orchestral and chamber forces. His Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra was performed by the New York Philharmonic and is one of a series of works that he wrote for saxophone quartet. His Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra, left uncompleted at the time of his death, was completed after by Chris DeBlasio (who also died of AIDS) and Allison Sniffin. Many of his organ works were commissioned for new organs, such as Music for an Important Occasion, the first commissioned work for the concert organ in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. There are also two experimental works for pianos and electronic tape which were recorded by CBS Records during the 1960s.

    Hampton recorded widely as an organist, especially for the Musical Heritage Society (all out of print today). Many of his works have been reissued in new digital recordings since the 1990s, including multiple recordings of the Five Dances for Organ and The Alexander Variations for two pipe organs.

    Calvin Hampton died of AIDS in Port Charlotte, Florida at the age of 45 on August 5, 1984.

    —Joseph Dalton

    WORKS:

  • ORGAN SOLO
  • ORGAN WITH INSTRUMENTS    
  • PIANO
  • SAXOPHONE QUARTET
  • WORKS WITH ELECTRONICS
  • ORCHESTRA
  • CHORAL
  • VOCAL SOLOS
  • HYMNS
  • LOST WORKS
  • UNCOMPLETED WORKS
  • ORGAN SOLO

    The Alexander Variations (1984)
    duet for two organs
    commissioned by Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
    premiered by Harry Huff and David Higgs
    published: Wayne Leupold WL7000016
    recorded:
    Harry Huff and David Higgs, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)
    Todd Wilson, David Higgs, organs, Double Forte, Delos 3175 (1996)

    Ceremonial Music (incorporated into Suite No. 2)
    Solemn Procession (1974)
    Trumpet Tune (1976)

    Concerto for Solo Organ (1981)
    published: Wayne Leupold WL700004 (in preparation)
    recorded: Harry Huff, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)

    Fanfare for the New Year (1983)
    published: Wayne Leupold WL 700007
    recorded: Harry Huff, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)

    Five Dances for Organ (1982)
    The Primitives
    At the Ballet
    Those Americans
    Exulted Ritual
    Everyone Dance
    published: Wayne Leupold WL6000013
    recorded: Cherry Rhodes, Pro Organo CD 7009 (1989)

    A Diversity of Riches: Multi-Ethnic Organ Music by 20th-Century American Composers, Titanic 205 (1993) (performer?)
    David Higgs, organ, Inaugural Recital, Delos 3148 (1993) (Dances 1, 2 and 5)

    Improvisation I (1960)

    Improvisation II (1960)

    In Praise of Humanity (1981)
    published: AGO; Gray, 1986
    recorded: Harry Huff, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)

    Jesus Enters Jerusalem (1982) A procession for Palm Sunday

    March on a Hymn Tune "Wyton" (1977)

    Music for an Important Occasion (1975)
    published: Wayne Leupold WL700014 (in preparation)

    Recitative (1960)
    Refractions (a two hour "sound environment" for organ)
    Death as in a Dream
    The Fall Out of Time
    Disorientation and Familiarity
    The Eternal Stream
    Universal Language
    The Maternal Labyrinth

    Suite No. 1
    Fanfare (1975)
    Antiphon (1977)
    Toccata (1976)
    published: McAfee (Columbia CPP/Belwin)

    Suite No. 2
    Solemn Procession (1974)
    Lullaby (1976)
    Trumpet Tune (1976)
    published: McAfee (Columbia CPP/Belwin)
    recorded (Lullaby): Harry Huff, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)

    Toccata (1975)
    Untitled organ prelude (197?)

    Variations on Old Hundreth (1970)
    published: Wayne Leupold WL600016
    recorded: Cherry Rhodes, Pro Organo CD 7009 (1989)

    Voluntary on Engelberg (1982)
    published: Wayne Leupold WL700006
    recorded: Harry Huff, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)

    Three Pieces for Organ (1982)
    Prayer and Alleluias
    In Paradisum
    Pageant
    published: Wayne Leupold WL6999912
    recorded (In Paradisum): Harry Huff, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990)

    And numerous choral preludes, hymn harmonizations and other short pieces.

    ORGAN WITH INSTRUMENTS

    Contrapunctus (197?) for organ and brass (lost manuscript)
    Prelude for Easter Day (1979) for organ and cello
    Transformation of Despair (1971) for organ and percussion
    Variations on Amazing Grace (1983) for organ and English horn
    published: Wayne Leupold WL600063
    recorded: Thomas Stacy, English horn, Harry Huff, organ, Memento Bittersweet,
    Catalyst/BMG 09026-61979-2 (1994)

    PIANO

    Catch-up (1967) for two pianos in quartertones and electronic tape
    published: C.F. Peters
    recorded: George C. Pappastavrou, Stuart Warren Lanning, pianos, Columbia/Odyssey 32-
    16-0161/0162 (1967)
    see also Works with Electronics

    Prisms (1962) for piano solo

    Triple Play (1967) for two pianos in quartertones and ondes martenot
    published: C.F. Peters
    recorded: George C. Pappastavrou, Stuart Warren Lanning, pianos, Helen McGill, ondes
    martenot, Teo Macero, conductor, Columbia/Odyssey 32-16-0161/0162 (1967)

    SAXOPHONE QUARTET

    Bach's Fireworks Music (1974)
    published: To the Fore Publishers

    Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Chamber Orchestra (1973)
    published: To the Fore Publishers

    Fugue (1984)
    published: To the Fore Publishers
    recorded: The American Music: A Quarter Century of American Music for Saxophone Quartet, Eclectra 2053 (2001)

    Labyrinth for Saxophone Quartet and Soprano (1974)
    lyrics by Michael Abreu
    published: McAfee

    WORKS WITH ELECTRONICS (TAPE, SYNTHESIZER, ETC.)

    Catch-up (1967) for two pianos in quartertones and electronic tape
    see Piano, above
    Engulfed Cathedral (1973) for synthesizer
    God Plays Hide and Seek (1971) for organ and electronic tape (tape by Edd Kalehoff)
    Written for the Institution of the Rev. Thomas F. Pike as Rector of Calvary Church
    Ice Caverns (1973) for synthesizer and electronic tape
    Our Temple is the Lord (1983) for soprano and electronic tape
    Procession Through a Black Hole (early 1970s) for organ, cello and electronic tape
    Reflections (1973) for synthesizer

    ORCHESTRA

    Concerto for Organ and Strings (1980)
    Written for the 1980 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists, Minneapolis, MN
    published: Theodore Presser (score and parts for rental)

    Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Chamber Orchestra (1973)
    published: To the Fore Publishers

    Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra
    Begun in 1983, left unfinished. Completion of composition and beginning of orchestration by Chris DeBlasio (1959-1994). Orchestration completed by Allison Sniffin.
    premiere: Brian Krinke and Michael Sutton, violinists, Philip Brunelle, conductor, Plymouth Music Series, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN, November 6, 1993

    CHORAL

    Alpha and Omega (1973)
    for chorus, organ and electronic tape

    Candlelight Carol Service (the story of Christmas) (1978)
    for chorus, congregation, organ, orchestra, recorder, dancers, electronic tape, and actors in pageant
    Carols for choir and congregation
    Concert Mass: Mass of the Star
    Instrumental interludes

    Cantata for Pentecost (1977)
    for chorus, organ, soloists and percussion
    published: M. Pambrun

    It Happened in Jerusalm, Cantata for Pentecost-Ascension (1983)
    for chorus, soloists, organ, percussion, actors, congregation, electronic tape, dancers, piano

    Live or Die: A Celebration of Life (1982)
    Cantata for chorus and instrumental ensemble, baritone and mezzo-soprano solos; and poetry readers (optional), on the theme of gay victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Poetry all by gay writers with the exception of one Psalm paraphrase.
    Chorus: These Words Are Dedicated to Those Who Died
    (text: Irena Klepfisz "Bashert")
    Percussion interludes: Reading
    Baritone solo: We Two
    (text: Walt Whitman)
    Mezzo solo: I Will Be Your Mouth Now
    (text: Judy Grahn, from "A Funeral Plainsong from a Younger Woman to an Older Woman")
    Chorus with baritone and mezzo solos: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
    (text: Isaac Watts)
    Interlude for ensemble
    Chorus: These Words Are Dedicated to Those Who Survived
    (text: Irena Klepfisz "Bashert")

    Sing, My Tongue, Cantata for Palm Sunday (1981)
    for chorus, soloists, organ
    (text: Fortunatus from Hymnal)
    Chorus: Sing, My Tongue
    Alto and tenor solos: Tell How Christ, the World's Redeemer; Thirty Years He Dwelt Among Us
    Chorus: Faithful Cross
    Soprano: Bend Thy Boughs
    Chorus: To the Trinity Be Glory Everlasting

    Plus numerous anthems for chorus and organ for general church use and for holidays and feastdays.

    VOCAL SOLOS:

    SOPRANO

    Three Songs for the Last Act (1962) for soprano and piano
    text: Louise Bogan

    Magnificat, from Christmas Cantata (1963) for soprano and organ or piano

    Vocalise (1972) for soprano and orchestral bells

    Laura (1974) for soprano and guitar
    text: Michael Abreu

    Labyrinth (1974) for soprano and saxophone quartet
    text: Michael Abreu

    The Road to Leprechaunia (197?) for soprano, organ and synthesizer

    Magnificat (1974) for soprano and autoharp

    Three Carols (1977) for soprano and piano
    Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind (Shakespeare)
    Spring Has Come
    Thanksgiving

    Our Temple Is The Lord (1983) for soprano and electronic tape
    (originally "No Temple in the City")

    MEZZO-SOPRANO

    I Will Be Your Mouth Now (1982) for mezzo-soprano and instrumental ensemble
    from Live or Die: A Celebration of Life
    recorded: S. Young, soprano, M. Stern-Wolfe, conductor, Sudden Sunsets: Highlights of the Benson Series, Downtown Music Productions, Leonarda Records (forthcoming, 2002)

    My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (1982) for mezzo and baritone with chorus and instrumental ensemble or chorus and organ
    from Live or Die: A Celebration of Life
    recorded: Easter Hymns, Carols and Anthems, Gothic CD 49097 (1998)

    BARITONE

    Spirit, Man for Sin Reproving (1977) for baritone and organ
    from Cantata for Pentecost

    We Two (1982) for baritone and string quintet
    from Live or Die: A Celebration of Life

    My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (1982) for mezzo and baritone with chorus and instrumental ensemble or chorus and organ
    from Live or Die: A Celebration of Life

    HYMNS

    Dozens of hymn tunes and harmonizations
    The Calvin Hampton Hymnary, a collection of 21 hymns. Published: GIA

    LOST WORKS (MANUSCRIPTS MISSING):

    Contrapunctus (197?) for organ and brass
    Movement for Three (1977) for piano, cello, flute
    note: may also be known as "Children at Play"
    Magnificat (1967) for soprano and autoharp
    Montage (1967) for solo cello
    Christmas Cantata (1965)
    Large traditional pageant for children and adults with organ, chorus, and soloists
    Two works survive: The Magnificat and Gentle Mary

    UNCOMPLETED WORKS:
    Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra (see Orchestra)
    The Man Who Could Work Miracles, opera based on H.G. Wells short story, commissioned by Minnesota Opera. Prologue for four sopranos, premiered at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1980

    WRITINGS:
    Unknown

    DISCOGRAPHY:
    Full-length discs as composer:

    Everyone Dance: The Organ Music of Calvin Hampton, Cherry Rhodes, organ, Pro Organo CD 7009 (1989). (Five Dances and Prelude and Variations on Old Hundredth)
    In Praise of Humanity: Music of Calvin Hampton, Harry Huff, organ, Pro Organo CD 7014 (1990). (Fanfare for the New Year, In Praise of Humanity, In Paradisum, Concerto for Solo Organ, Lullaby, Voluntary on "Engelberg", Alexander Variations [with David Higgs])

    CD collections (as composer):

    "Variations on Amazing Grace," Thomas Stacy, English horn, Harry Huff, organ, Memento Bittersweet, Catalyst/BMG 09026-61979-2 (1994).
    "I Will Be Your Mouth Now," S. Young, soprano, M. Stern-Wolfe, conductor, Sudden Sunsets: Highlights of the Benson Series, Downtown Music Productions, Leonarda Records (forthcoming, 2002).
    "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," Easter Hymns, Carols and Anthems, Gothic CD 49097 (1998).
    "Five Dances for Organ," A Diversity of Riches: Multi-Ethnic Organ Music by 20th-Century American Composers, Titanic 205 (1993).
    "The Alexander Variations," Todd Wilson, David Higgs, organs, Double Forte, Delos 3175 (1996).
    "The Primitives," "At the Ballet," and "Everyone Dance" from Five Dances for Organ, David Higgs, organ, Inaugural Recital, Delos 3148 (1993).
    "Fugue (for saxophone quartet)," The American Music: A Quarter Century of American Music for Saxophone Quartet, Eclectra 2053 (2001).

    LPs as composer:

    Catch-up and Triple Play, George C. Pappastavrou, Stuart Warren Lanning, pianos, Helen McGill, ondes martenot (Triple Play), Teo Macero, conductor (Triple Play), Columbia/Odyssey 32-16-0161/0162 (1967).

    LPs as performer:

    Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Musical Heritage.
    Franck: Symphony in D Minor, Musical Heritage
    Dances, Romances, Poetry & Pomp (collection of orchestral and piano miniatures), Musical Heritage.
    Digital Pipes (collection of wedding transcriptions), Tioch Records.
    Franck: Les Beatitudes, oratorio for chorus, soloists, orchestra, Sine Qua Non Records.
    Music for English Horn and Organ, with Thomas Stacy, Spectrum Records.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:

      Articles:
    • Journal of The Association of Anglican Musicians, September 1994, entire issue dedicated to memory of Calvin Hampton.
    • Dissertations:

    • Twentieth-Century American Organ Compositions: Selected Composers and Their Works by Sabrina Lynn Adrian, dissertation for DMA, University of Texas, Austin, 1995. 106 pages, UMI No. DA9617396. (Includes analysis of Hamptonís In Praise of Humanity)
    • A Survey of Selected Solo Organ Works of Calvin Hampton by Margaret Richard Campo, dissertation for DMA, Louisiana State University, 1998. 91 pages, UMI AAI9922061.
    • A Comprehensive Performance Project in Organ Literature with an Examination of Selected Free Organ Works of Calvin Hampton (1938-1984) by Shelly Moorman-Stahlman, University of Iowa, 1990.
    • The Sacred Choral Music of Calvin Hampton by Rodney Ayers, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Worship and the Arts, Yale University, April 1993.
    • The Stained-Glass Zimbelstern: An Inquiry into the Life and Music of Calvin Hampton by Jonathan Hall, University of Indiana, November 2001.

    PERFORMING RIGHTS AFFILIATION:
    ASCAP

    RESOURCES:
    GIA
    7404 South Mason Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60638
    Tel: (708) 496-3800
    Fax: (708) 496-3828
    www.giamusic.com

    Wayne Leupold Editions
    8510 Triad Drive
    Colfax, NC 27235
    (910) 996-8445
    www.wayneleupold.com

    McAfee (Columbia CPP/Belwin)
    P. O. Box 4340
    Miami, FL 33014
    Tel: (305) 620-1500
    Fax: (305) 625-3480

    Theodore Presser Company
    588 North Gulph Road
    King of Prussia, PA 19406
    Tel: (610) 525-3636
    Fax: (610) 527-7841
    www.presser.com

    To the Fore Publishers
    82 Copley Avenue
    Teaneck, NJ 07666
    Tel: (201) 287-1872
    Fax: (201) 287-1873
    members.aol.com/tothefore/navigation.html

    MUSICAL EXECUTOR:
    Harry Huff, Music Director
    Calvary Church
    61 Gramercy Park North
    New York, NY 10010
    Tel: (212) 473-2877
    Fax: (212) 475-1262

    Marcella Pambrun (prior executor)
    c/o Calvary Church (as above)

    OTHER CONTACTS:
    Unknown

    ARCHIVES:
    With Harry Huff at Calvary Church, moving to New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

     


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