Review of Henry’s Book/CD: Anatomy of an Organ

John Naples, D.M.A.

Anatomy of an Organ cover

Anatomy of an Organ: The Schlicker Two-Manual and Pedal Organ at House of Prayer Lutheran Church, Escondido, California, by Henry Doktorski. 43 pages. 8.5 x 11 inches. Soft cover. Saddle-stitch binding. 37 photos, 36 in color. Includes a 31-minute, 15-track compact disc. Published by House of Prayer Lutheran Church, Escondido, California.

Review by John Naples, D.M.A.

Church organists and pipe organ enthusiasts are missing out on the aptly described brilliant and beautiful work of art sitting right nearby in Escondido at the House of Prayer Lutheran Church: The Schlicker two manual and pedal pipe organ. Its design and materials of construction create a warm, holistic environment. The richly wooded space is a companion to harmony and supports the organists ultimate objective: to recreate in music the triumphal voices of strength, compassion, wisdom and mercy.

This is all detailed in a new book by the House of Prayer’s organist, Henry Doktorski, entitled Anatomy of an Organ: The Schlicker Two Manual and Pedal Organ. Brief but succinct, Henry’s discourse touches every relevant aspect of what readers need to know about the instrument. Just enough of its history is presented to inform on the origins of this organ, and the parties responsible. The narrative moves directly on to the instrument and its anatomy as the title suggests. Readers might just get inspired to go and observe and perhaps play a well prepared rendition upon its two manuals and full pedal. With a not unlimited stop list, Henry presents evidence that what is available will nevertheless deliver a full range to lift and refresh both performer and listener.

The companion CD demonstrates a wide range of both the Schlicker’s sonic capabilities and the organist’s impeccable technique. Henry’s choice of repertory and delivery support all that is claimed in the book’s pages. The CD should stand alone as a treat to all of us who know and appreciate Henry’s talent, skill, and musical sensitivity.

Impressive is the cleverness, choice, and quality of the book’s photos of the console, pipes, and machinery. Full-page size true to life images are featured and include everything from the rosewood and black ebony keys of the manuals, the maple pedalboard, and every type of pipe and chime in the casework, to the electric blower, wind trunks, and chest. I feel the pictures to be a strong part of how Henry conveys interest in the anatomy of the House of Prayer’s organ. Standing amid the tall wooden sub-bass pipes, one picture shows the Schlicker’s technician Dale Sorenson of L. W. Blackington & Associates of El Cajon, California. Through Henry Doktorski’s description I can be confident the organ’s future is in good hands.

About the Reviewer: Dr. John Naples, D.M.A., received his Doctorate in Music Composition at the University of Southern California and currently serves as the organist at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Poway. He also serves as a board member for the Palomar Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He is especially known amongst Southern California organists for his original compositions for organ, which he performs in recital with brilliant technique and musical sensitivity. For more, see Naples Music.

This review was originally published in Palomar Chapter AGO Titulaire, the monthly newsletter for the American Guild of Organists Palomar Chapter, Issue No. 160 (May 2018), and Sforzando, the monthly newsletter for the American Guild of Organists San Diego Chapter (May 2018).

Anatomy of an Organ CD

Purchase Anatomy of an Organ

Henry Doktorski’s 43-page book and 15-track CD about the history and specifications of the 1989 two-manual and pedal Schlicker organ at House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Escondido, California (including over 32 color photographs), can be purchased directly from the author. Send a check or money order for $19.99 (includes shipping to anywhere in the United States) to the author at PO Box 893343, Temecula, California, 92589. Credit card payments must go through PayPal. Send PayPal payment to the author at the e-mail address listed below. Canadian and overseas customers can pay with Western Union and must inquire directly from the author regarding shipping prices.

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Review by Samantha Gross