E. Power Biggs

Real Name:
Edward George Power Biggs
Profile:
English organist and harpsichordist.

*29 March 1906 in Westcliff-on-Sea, England, UK
†10 March 1977 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Biggs was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England; a year later, the family moved to the Isle of Wight. Biggs was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with G.D. Cunningham. Biggs emigrated to the United States in 1930. In 1932, he took up a post at Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Biggs did much to bring the classical pipe organ back to prominence, and was in the forefront of the mid-20th-century resurgence of interest in the organ music of pre-Romantic composers. On his first concert tour of Europe, in 1954, Biggs performed and recorded works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Sweelinck, Dieterich Buxtehude, and Pachelbel on historic organs associated with those composers. Thereafter, he believed that such music should ideally be performed on instruments representative of that period and that organ music of that epoch should be played by using (as closely as possible) the styles and registrations of that era. Thus, he sparked the American revival of organ building in the style of European Baroque instruments, seen especially in the increasing popularity of tracker organs — analogous to Europe's Orgelbewegung.

Among other instruments, Biggs championed G. Donald Harrison's Baroque-style unenclosed, unencased instrument with 24 stops and electric action (produced by Aeolian-Skinner in 1937 and installed in Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the three-manual Flentrop tracker organ subsequently installed there in 1958. Many of his CBS radio broadcasts and Columbia recordings were made in the museum. Another remarkable instrument used by Biggs was the Challis pedal harpsichord; Biggs made recordings of the music of J.S. Bach and Scott Joplin on this instrument.
His critics of the time included rival concert organist Virgil Fox, who was known for a more flamboyant, colorful style of performance. Fox decried Biggs' insistence on historical accuracy, claiming it was "relegating the organ to a museum piece." However, most observers agree that Biggs "should be given great credit for his innovative ideas as far as the musical material he recorded, and for making the organs he recorded even more famous."[2] Despite different approaches, both artists enjoyed hugely successful careers and Biggs rose to the top of his profession.
In addition to concertizing and recording, Biggs taught at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at various times in his career and edited a large body of organ music.
For his contribution to the recording industry, E. Power Biggs has a star on California's Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6522 Hollywood Blvd.
Sites:
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E. Power Biggs Discography Tracks

Albums

M 616 E. Power Biggs - Bach Daquin Organ Music album art E. Power Biggs Bach Daquin Organ Music(2xShellac, 12", Album) RCA Victor M 616 US 1939 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Concerto For Organ And Strings In C album art Corelli*, The Arthur Fiedler Sinfonietta With E. Power Biggs Arranged By Gian Francesco Malipiero Corelli*, The Arthur Fiedler Sinfonietta With E. Power Biggs Arranged By Gian Francesco Malipiero - Concerto For Organ And Strings In C (Album) RCA Victor Red Seal US 1943 Sell This Version
DM 928 E. Power Biggs - Processional And Ceremonial Music For Voices, Organ And Brass album art Harvard Glee Club*, Radcliffe Choral Society, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Choir, E. Power Biggs, G. Wallace Woodworth / Giovanni Gabrieli Harvard Glee Club*, Radcliffe Choral Society, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Choir, E. Power Biggs, G. Wallace Woodworth / Giovanni Gabrieli - Processional And Ceremonial Music For Voices, Organ And Brass(4xShellac, 12", Album) Victor Red Seal DM 928 US 1943 Sell This Version
DM 1048 E. Power Biggs - Bach Organ Music album art E. Power Biggs Bach Organ Music(4xShellac, 12", Album) Victor Red Seal DM 1048 US 1946 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - French Organ Music album art E. Power Biggs French Organ Music (Album) Columbia USA & Canada 1949 Sell This Version
ML 4284 E. Power Biggs - Bach's Royal Instrument Volume 1 album art E. Power Biggs Bach's Royal Instrument Volume 1(LP, Album, Mono) Columbia Masterworks ML 4284 US 1950 Sell This Version
ML 4285 E. Power Biggs - Bach's Royal Instrument Part II album art E. Power Biggs Bach's Royal Instrument Part II(LP, Album) Columbia Masterworks ML 4285 US 1950 Sell This Version
ML 4331 E. Power Biggs - Westminster Suite/Recital album art E. Power Biggs Westminster Suite/Recital(LP, Album, Mono) Columbia Masterworks ML 4331 US 1950 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Music of Jubilee album art Bach*, E. Power Biggs Bach*, E. Power Biggs - Music of Jubilee (Album) Columbia Masterworks Canada 1951 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Bach's Royal Instrument Vol. 3 album art E. Power Biggs Bach's Royal Instrument Vol. 3 Columbia Masterworks US 1952 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Bach Festival album art Bach*, E. Power Biggs Bach*, E. Power Biggs - Bach Festival (Album) Columbia Masterworks US 1953 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Reubke: Sonata In C Minor For Organ On The 94th Psalm /  Liszt: Fantasia And Fugue On B.A.C.H. / Gloria And Credo (From An Organ Mass) album art Julius Reubke / Franz LisztE. Power Biggs Julius Reubke / Franz LisztE. Power Biggs - Reubke: Sonata In C Minor For Organ On The 94th Psalm / Liszt: Fantasia And Fugue On B.A.C.H. / Gloria And Credo (From An Organ Mass) Columbia Masterworks US 1954 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Concerto In G Minor For Organ, String Orchestra And Timpani / Prelude, Fugue And Variation, Op. 18 ‧ Pièce Héroïque album art Francis PoulencCésar Franck / E. Power Biggs , Organ ‧ Richard Burgin Conducting The Columbia Symphony Orchestra Francis PoulencCésar Franck / E. Power Biggs , Organ ‧ Richard Burgin Conducting The Columbia Symphony Orchestra - Concerto In G Minor For Organ, String Orchestra And Timpani / Prelude, Fugue And Variation, Op. 18 ‧ Pièce Héroïque Columbia Masterworks, Columbia Masterworks US 1950 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Toccata In D Minor (A Hi-Fi Adventure) album art Bach* : E. Power Biggs Bach* : E. Power Biggs - Toccata In D Minor (A Hi-Fi Adventure) (Album) Columbia Masterworks US 1955 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - The Art Of The Organ - Volume 1 album art E. Power Biggs The Art Of The Organ - Volume 1 Philips UK 1955 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Eight Little Preludes And Fugues (Played On Eight Famous Continental Organs) album art E. Power Biggs Eight Little Preludes And Fugues (Played On Eight Famous Continental Organs) (Album) Philips, Philips US 1956 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Cathedral Voluntaries and Processionals By Bach, Purcell, Schubert, Strauss, Vaughan Williams  album art E. Power Biggs Cathedral Voluntaries and Processionals By Bach, Purcell, Schubert, Strauss, Vaughan Williams (Album) Columbia Masterworks Canada 1956 Sell This Version
KSL-227 E. Power Biggs - Bach: The Little Organ Book album art E. Power Biggs Bach: The Little Organ Book(3xLP) Columbia Masterworks KSL-227 US 1956 Sell This Version
none E. Power Biggs - Promotional Interviews And Musical Excerpts For Four Albums Of 1955/1956 album art E. Power Biggs, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Bernhard Paumgartner E. Power Biggs, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Bernhard Paumgartner - Promotional Interviews And Musical Excerpts For Four Albums Of 1955/1956(2xLP, Mono, Promo) Columbia Masterworks none US 1956 Sell This Version
K3L-231 E. Power Biggs - A Mozart Organ Tour album art E. Power Biggs, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Bernhard Paumgartner E. Power Biggs, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Bernhard Paumgartner - A Mozart Organ Tour(3xLP, Album, Mono, Sli) Columbia Masterworks K3L-231 US 1956 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Organ Music Of Spain And Portugal album art E. Power Biggs Organ Music Of Spain And Portugal Columbia Masterworks US 1957 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Symphony No. 3 In C Minor, Op. 78 album art Saint-Saëns* - The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, E. Power Biggs Saint-Saëns* - The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, E. Power Biggs - Symphony No. 3 In C Minor, Op. 78 (Album) Columbia Masterworks US 1957 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Concerto For Organ And Chamber Orchestra, Op.46, No. 2 / Sonata No. 7 In F Minor For Organ Op.127 album art Hindemith* / Rheinberger* - Richard Burgin Conducting The Columbia Chamber Orchestra, E. Power Biggs Hindemith* / Rheinberger* - Richard Burgin Conducting The Columbia Chamber Orchestra, E. Power Biggs - Concerto For Organ And Chamber Orchestra, Op.46, No. 2 / Sonata No. 7 In F Minor For Organ Op.127 (Album) Columbia Masterworks Canada 1957 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - Bach At Zwolle album art E. Power Biggs Bach At Zwolle Columbia Masterworks US 1958 Sell This Version
E. Power Biggs - The Organ Concertos of Handel Nos. 1-6, Op.4 album art E. Power Biggs, Sir Adrian Boult, The London Philharmonic Orchestra E. Power Biggs, Sir Adrian Boult, The London Philharmonic Orchestra - The Organ Concertos of Handel Nos. 1-6, Op.4 Columbia Masterworks US 1958 Sell This Version

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