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Old South Church
Boston, MA
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We are grateful that you attended THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE. Please consider visiting WWW.KRASINSKI.ORG to send Mr. Krasinski a message about your experience marking the centennial of the involvement of the United States in World War One.




THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, the 1921 epic silent film will be presented at Old South Church,  Copley Square, Boston on Thursday, April 6, 2017  with live improvised musical accompaniment by international sonic artist Peter Edwin Krasinski on the famous 1921 E. M. Skinner Pipe organ.

The event will officially begin with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a musical prelude and the rarily screened Winsor McCay animation, THE SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA (1918)

On April 6, 1917 the United States entered World War One. Come mark this event One Hundred years to the day by attending a rare screening of one of the great epic films about the "War to End All Wars".

The Venue: OLD SOUTH CHURCH, 645 Boylston Street, Boston (Copley T stop)
The Date: April 6, 2017
The Time: 7:30- 9:55 PM
The Soundtrack: Peter Krasinski, (Live improvised accompaniment)
The Instrument: E. M. Skinner Opus 308 Built the same year as the film, 1921


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a 1921 American silent epic war film produced by Metro Pictures Corporation and directed by Rex Ingram. Based on the Spanish novel The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, it was adapted for the screen by June Mathis. The film stars Pomeroy Cannon, Josef Swickard, Bridgetta Clark, Rudolph Valentino, Wallace Beery, and Alice Terry.

Often regarded as one of the first true anti-war films, it had a huge cultural impact and became the top-grossing film of 1921, beating out Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. The film turned then-little-known actor Rudolph Valentino into a superstar and associated him with the image of the Latin Lover. The film also inspired a tango craze and such fashion fads as gaucho pants. The film was masterminded by June Mathis, who, with its success, became one of the most powerful women in Hollywood at the time.

In 1995, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film is now in the public domain, having been made before 1923.


World War I - also known as the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history.

Over nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war (including the victims of a number of genocides), a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and the tactical stalemate caused by grueling trench warfare.

It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.

At the outbreak of the war, the United States pursued a policy of non-intervention, avoiding conflict while trying to broker a peace. When the German U-boat U-20 sank the British liner RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915 with 128 Americans among the dead, President Woodrow Wilson insisted that "America is too proud to fight" but demanded an end to attacks on passenger ships. Germany complied. Wilson unsuccessfully tried to mediate a settlement. However, he also repeatedly warned that the United States would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, in violation of international law. Former president Theodore Roosevelt denounced German acts as "piracy". Wilson was narrowly reelected in 1916 as his supporters (many supporting the America First movement of that time) emphasized "he kept us out of war".

In January 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, realizing it would mean American entry. The German Foreign Minister, in the Zimmermann Telegram, invited Mexico to join the war as Germany's ally against the United States. In return, the Germans would finance Mexico's war and help it recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The United Kingdom intercepted the message and presented it to the US embassy in the UK. From there it made its way to President Wilson who released the Zimmermann note to the public, and Americans saw it as casus belli. Wilson called on antiwar elements to end all wars, by winning this one and eliminating militarism from the globe. He argued that the war was so important that the US had to have a voice in the peace conference. After the sinking of seven US merchant ships by submarines and the publication of the Zimmermann telegram, Wilson called for war on Germany, which the US Congress declared on April 6, 1917.


PETER EDWIN KRASINSKI is broadly recognized as a motivating consultant for the pipe organ community, and as a conductor, organist, and music educator, whose imaginative and energetic performances elevate and inform diverse audiences. Well respected in both the secular and sacred genres of his field, he has taught the enchantment of music to both public and private institutions in the greater Boston area for many years. His Bach interpretations have been hailed in print as "sublimely spiritual", and his improvisations have been critically acclaimed in the press as "stunning", "seamless", and brilliant. His silent film performances have been called a great marriage of movie and music. He consistently receives rave reviews about his performances. Krasinskis musicianship and command of the organ were matched by his intuition and keen sense of dramatic sensitivity. It was remarkable and seamless, and yesno modern movie could out do it. In fact I go as far as to say it was live theaterIt was as if Krasinski became one with the elements.

He specializes in the art of live silent film accompaniment, worldwide. Appearances include Hammond Castle in Gloucester MA (for the International Society of Organ Builders), Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania, Schermerhorn Symphony Hall (Nashville), the John Silber Symphonic Organ at Boston University, The Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, Trinity Wall Street (NYC), Wanamakers-Macys Greek Hall (Philadelphia), St Malachys/The Actors Chapel (NYC), Sharp Concert Hall at University of Oklahoma, Trinity on the Green (New Haven), The Performing Arts Center (Providence) and Mary Keane Chapel (Enfield, NH).  He has premiered the art of silent film at many distinguished venues including Marsh Chapel at Boston University, St Josephs Cathedral (Hartford), National City Christian Church (Washington, DC), Cathedral Church of St Paul (Boston), St Josephs Oratory (Montreal), United Congregational Church (Holyoke), Old South Church (Boston), as well as major concert halls in Yokohama, Fukui, Miyazaki and Kanazawa, Japan.

Mr. Krasinski has won numerous prizes in organ including First Prize in Improvisation in the American Guild of Organists National Competition. He was subsequently featured artist at the convention in Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. He has studied composition and improvisation with Naji Hakim (Sainte-Trinite), interpretation with Marie Langlais (Sainte-Clotilde), and also played and conducted for services at the American Cathedral in Paris. Among his many recital appearances he has played in concert at Notre-Dame Cathedral (directly following the renaming of Parvis Notre-Dame to Place Jean-Paul II) Paris, Methuen Memorial Music Hall (as featured solo artist for their Centennial Celebration), The Kotzschmar Organ at City Hall (Portland), Trinity Church (Boston),  Holy Name Cathedral (Chicago) and Wanamakers/Macys Grand Court for their Centennial Celebration)

Mr. Krasinski currently serves as Organist of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Providence RI, accompanist at Beth El Temple Center Belmont MA, and as a faculty member of St Pauls Choir School, Cambridge MA. He is past Dean of the Boston chapter AGO, regularly teaches improvisation master-classes to the Harvard Organ Society and is organ consultant to a number of high profile projects. Past positions include Director of Choral Arts at Beaver Country Day School and Artistic Director of Youth pro Musica. He holds both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education and Organ Performance, and the Master of Sacred Music Degree from Boston University.

Mr. Krasinski has shared his organ accompaniment, interpretation and improvising skills as soloist and with many organizations around the United States, France and Japan. He has conducted internationally, and his numerous commissioned compositions often see repeat performances. His other passions include playing jazz piano and sailing his J-24 off the coast of the North East.

For bookings, upcoming performances and more information please visit the website-                           WWW.KRASINSKI.ORG                


The organ is so central to worship at Old South Church that it is easy to take for granted. Yet on an average Sunday, at least a third of the Festival Worship service uses the Sanctuary organ (E.M. Skinner Organ, Op. 308) in some fashion; singing hymns or accompanying the Choir would be inconceivable without it, and Old South wouldnt feel like Old South without the soul-stirring, room-shaking music that the E.M. Skinner organ provides.  

The beauty of any pipe organ is its wonderfully low-tech engineering. Unlike telephone systems, computers or any other modern technology  all of which are designed to become obsolete  organs are almost infinitely renewable. In the words of Joseph Dzeda, Curator of Organs at Yale University, As long as God makes sheep and glue, we can restore organs.

It was a daring, expensive and magnificent undertaking that brought the E.M. Skinner Organ (Op. 308) to Old Souths Sanctuary, perhaps even more so, given how much secondary effort had to be expended so soon after installation. Thanks to the superb work of the Barden crew at that time, and the expert guidance of consultants and church members, the organ has emerged as a paragon of stability and easy maintenance. This does not mean that it is maintenance-free; like a Church, it needs its equivalent of roof and furnace repair, cleaning, overhaul, restoration. But a Church soon to celebrate its 350th anniversary understands longevity. In its incarnation at Old South, Op. 308 is a mere adolescent, but one whose long life can be guaranteed, with the right attitude and good work.

The Sanctuary organ has proven remarkably stable in the years since Nelson Barden Associates completed a large campaign of work (1987-1990) that followed the rebuild by Casavant/Hokans-Knapp (1983-1984). For various reasons, that campaign could not address certain areas, which have been and will continue to be, areas of ongoing attention.

In 1875, the New Old South Church was equipped with a three-manual (three keyboards) Hutchings organ, sited in the gallery. This was replaced in 1915 with Ernest M. Skinner Organ Companys Op. 231, a four-manual with a 32-foot metal Gamba and wooden Bombarde, a Physharmonica, and the full complement of Skinner specialty voices. Like the Hutchings, the Skinner was also installed in the gallery. For many years the eminent Dr. Carl McKinley presided over this instrument.

In the late 1960s, Dr. McKinleys successor, Alfred Nash Patterson, sought a new instrument, which was eventually commissioned in 1968 from the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas and installed in 1969. This, too, was a four-manual organ, with Great, Swell, Choir, Positiv, Bombarde and Pedal divisions. The two Skinner 32-foot stops were retained, but all else was sold to Virgil Fox for use at his home in Englewood, New Jersey. (Eventually the pipes and parts were broken up for sale; the Kleine Erzähler and Flute Celeste found their way first to restorers in Detroit, and then eventually back to Old South via Nelson Barden.)

In the early 1980s, under the leadership of then-organist David Garth Worth, an effort was begun to return the Skinner sound to Old South Church. Skinner Op. 308, built in 1921 for the Municipal Auditorium of Saint Paul, Minnesota, had suffered the fate of most municipal organs of its day. Although these organs opened to great fanfare, the advent of radio and sound pictures caused such instruments to be used less and less.

Old South learned of the instruments availability mere weeks before the auditorium was to be razed and decided to act. A consortium was quickly formed to remove and store the instrument. The crew consisted of the A. Thompson-Allen Co., Curators of Organs at Yale University; Foley-Baker Inc. from Tolland, Connecticut; and Nelson Barden Associates of Boston.

Once the heroic removal effort was completed, attention turned to how the organ could be installed in Boston. Some consideration was given to retaining the gallery arrangement, but Old South was ready to have music join with clergy in the chancel area. Such a job being beyond the capabilities of the New England restorers, other vendors were explored, and ultimately Casavant Frères, Ltée. of St. Hyacinth, Québec was chosen, in a two-contract arrangement with that firms regional representatives, Henry Hokans and Richard Knapp. The Reuter organ was sold back to Reuter in the early 1980s; Reuter took it back to Kansas and repackaged it for St. John's Lutheran Church, Winter Park, Florida.

Nelson Barden Associates began a rebuilding program in 1986, made formal in 1987 under consultants Jack Bethards, Joseph Dzeda and Jason McKown, and church guidance from organist Frederick A. MacArthur, treasurer Tom Wardell, and member Wayne Davis. This particular campaign of work saw completion in June 1990, in time for the American Guild of Organists National Convention in Boston. In 1993, the Antiphonal organ received all new pipework from Austin. Nelson Barden Associates renovated the console in 1999, installing a new solid-state combination action.


Old South Church (View)
645 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
United States


Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Arts > Visual
Film > Festivals
Film > Movies
Film > Premiers
Music > All Ages
Music > Classical
Music > Experimental
Music > Festivals
Music > Jazz
Music > Spiritual

Minimum Age: 7
Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


On BPT Since: Sep 20, 2013
Peter Krasinski

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