In Boston on at Old South Church, members of the American Guild of Organists swarmed to hear a recital by a featured performer at the Guild's National Meeting: Notre Dame's Professor of Organ, Dr. Craig Cramer. Cramer, known as a specialist in baroque repertory and a master of the mechanical-action organ, was about to play the 1921 Skinner organ, an instrument that has been much restored, and that once served for the Ordway Civic Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. It has 115 ranks and 7,625 pipes, and people were curious to see what Cramer would make of his assigned partner.
The balanced program also included the "Introduction, Scherzo and Fugue on B-E-A-T-E" (1993) by contemporary composer Toni Zahnbrecher, the director of music and organist at the Church of St. Willibald in Munich-Laim, Germany, and the Prelude and Fugue on “O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid” by Ethel Smyth (1841-1924), a composer whose works Cramer has championed for some years. Max Reger's Second Sonata, Op. 60, a monumental work in three movements, served as the grand finale. Although a work well known to the audience, many were astounded at Cramer's choice of colors; he transformed the familiar into something unexpected and new.