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:
Variations:

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
DM 833 E. Power Biggs - The Art of the Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge) (Volume II) album art Bach*, E. Power Biggs Bach*, E. Power Biggs - The Art of the Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge) (Volume II)(6xShellac, 12", Album) RCA Victor Red Seal DM 833 US 1941 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 (Album) Victor Red Seal DM 928 US 1943 Sell This Version
DM-924 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 DM-924 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
ML 4195 E. Power Biggs - French Organ Music album art E. Power Biggs French Organ Music (Album) Columbia ML 4195 US 1949 Sell This Version
ML 4097 E. Power Biggs - Organ Music Of Bach album art E. Power Biggs Organ Music Of Bach Columbia Masterworks ML 4097 US 1949 Sell This Version
ML 2076 E. Power Biggs - Sonata No. 6 In D Minor, Op. 65 / A Bach Recital album art Mendelssohn*, Bach* - E. Power Biggs Mendelssohn*, Bach* - E. Power Biggs - Sonata No. 6 In D Minor, Op. 65 / A Bach Recital(10", Mono) Columbia Masterworks ML 2076 US 1949 Sell This Version
ML 4331 E. Power Biggs - Westminster Suite/Recital album art E. Power Biggs Westminster Suite/Recital (Album) Columbia Masterworks ML 4331 Canada 1950 Sell This Version
ML 4329 E. Power Biggs - Concerto In G Minor For Organ, String Orchestra / Music Of César Franck album art Francis PoulencCésar Franck ; E. Power Biggs, Richard Burgin, Columbia Symphony Orchestra Francis PoulencCésar Franck ; E. Power Biggs, Richard Burgin, Columbia Symphony Orchestra - Concerto In G Minor For Organ, String Orchestra / Music Of César Franck Columbia Masterworks ML 4329 US 1950 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 4435 E. Power Biggs - Music Of Jubilee album art Johann Sebastian Bach, E. Power Biggs With Richard Burgin Conducting The Columbia Chamber Orchestra Johann Sebastian Bach, E. Power Biggs With Richard Burgin Conducting The Columbia Chamber Orchestra - Music Of Jubilee (Album) Columbia Masterworks ML 4435 US 1951 Sell This Version
ML 4603 E. Power Biggs - Cathedral Voluntaries and Processionals album art E. Power Biggs Cathedral Voluntaries and Processionals (Album) Columbia Masterworks ML 4603 US 1952 Sell This Version
ML 4500 E. Power Biggs - Bach's Royal Instrument Vol. 3 album art Bach* - E. Power Biggs Bach* - E. Power Biggs - Bach's Royal Instrument Vol. 3 Columbia Masterworks ML 4500 US 1952 Sell This Version
ML 4635 E. Power Biggs - Bach Festival album art Bach*, E. Power Biggs Bach*, E. Power Biggs - Bach Festival (Album) Columbia Masterworks ML 4635 US 1953 Sell This Version
ML 4820 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 ML 4820 US 1954 Sell This Version
SL-219 E. Power Biggs - The Art of the Organ album art E. Power Biggs The Art of the Organ Columbia Masterworks SL-219 US 1955 Sell This Version
ABL 3066 E. Power Biggs - The Art Of The Organ - Volume 1 album art E. Power Biggs The Art Of The Organ - Volume 1 Philips ABL 3066 UK 1955 Sell This Version
ML 5032 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 ML 5032 US 1955 Sell This Version
none E. Power Biggs - The Art Of The Organ album art E. Power Biggs The Art Of The Organ(10", Mono, Promo) Columbia Masterworks none US 1955 Sell This Version
ML 5078 E. Power Biggs - Eight Little Preludes And Fugues (Played On Eight Famous Continental Organs) album art Bach*, E. Power Biggs Bach*, E. Power Biggs - Eight Little Preludes And Fugues (Played On Eight Famous Continental Organs) (Album) Philips, Philips ML 5078 US 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