TRANSFORMATIONS DIVINE ART DDA 25193
On this new CD, Alexander Ffinch plays three major organ works: one from Franz Liszt, one of the masters of high Romanticism and bubbling virtuosity; the rhapsodic Heroic Sonata (a masterpiece by prolific Belgian organist and composer Joseph Jongen), and the first commercial recording of the energetic, delicately figured piece ‘The Dancing Pipes’ by Jonathan Dove, one of today’s most appreciated British composers. Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem undam’ was composed in 1850 and is based was on a Chorale from Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera Le prophète. Jongen’s magnificent Heroic Sonata, written in 1930, is a landmark in twentieth-century organ music and follows the example of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. This excellent program is titled ‘Transformations’ as each piece contains musical transformations of themes; it also reflects the transformation of the fine Norman & Beard organ at Cheltenham College Chapel - this being its first recording since a full restoration in 2017. Alexander Ffinch studied at the Royal College of Music and was organ scholar at Keble College Oxford. He gave over 100 recitals as resident organist at Lancaster Town Hall and continues to undertake a busy concert and broadcasting schedule (sadly his planned August 2019 debut at Notre Dame Paris is ‘on hold’). He was appointed College Organist at Cheltenham in 2004, since when he has played daily in the Chapel as well as giving regular recitals. He oversaw the 2017 restoration of this fine instrument and knows it better than anyone.
THE FIRST ORGAN CONCERTOS LOFT RECORDINGS 1138
Instrumental concertos for a pipe organ soloist with an orchestra first evolved in the 18th century, pioneered by composers such as Vivaldi, J S Bach and George Frideric Handel. They wrote organ concertos with small orchestras, including solo parts which rarely call for the organ pedal board. During the Classical period the organ concerto became increasingly popular and formed an integral part of the church music tradition. Handel wrote organ concertos as interludes for his oratorios - playing the organ part himself while directing the orchestra - and the style can first be heard in interior movements of his oratorio Il trionfo del Temp e del Disinganno (‘The Triumph of Time and Truth’). This was Handel’s very first oratorio and a landmark in baroque music, completed in 1707. This is included as the first work on this intriguing CD along with three early organ concertos by J S Bach (1685-1750). Bach was a composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra and solo instruments brought together almost all of the strands of the baroque style and brought it to its ultimate maturity. He enriched the prevailing German style with a robust and dazzling contrapuntal technique, a seemingly effortless control of harmonic and organisation from the smallest to the largest scales, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France. Bach’s forceful suavity and vast output have earned him wide acknowledgment as one of the greatest composers in the Western tonal tradition, revered for his music’s intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty. In Bach’s case it has been assumed that the concerto evolved from instrumental sinfonias from his cantatas. Organist Matthew Dirst, however, demonstrates another possibility - concerts in Dresden (1725) before the cantata sinfonias were written. Prepared from the earliest sources, Dirst and the excellent Ars Lyrica ensemble have reconstructed the musical soundscape of this important event, which ultimately spawned Bach’s most popular harpsichord concerto. Noted for his stylish playing of Baroque music in particular, praise for Matthew Dirst and Grammy-nominated Ars Lyrica include ‘a technically dazzling, deeply moving performance’ - Houston Chronicle.
FERRARI - WOMEN OF HISTORY DIVINE ART DDA25178
Italian composer Carlotta Ferrari was born in 1975 and is currently professor of music composition at the European School of Economics in Florence. Educated at the Conservatory in Milan, she has composed in many genres, developing a personal language that is concerned with the blend of past and present. Her compositions have been performed frequently around the world and her music appears on several CD recordings, including four by Carson Cooman. The five compositions on this new album are inspired by the lives and works of five women from history, celebrating three religious figures, an artist and a writer. In Ferrari’s distinctive modal style, she creates expressive musical portraits of these women. The first four works employ the ‘Restarting Pitch Space’ (RPS) system of modal harmony first developed in 2005 by Carson Cooman, an American composer with a catalogue of hundreds of works in many forms, ranging from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. As an active concert organist, he specializes in the performance of contemporary music and over 300 new works have been composed for him by composers from around the world. On this this recording of the wonderful main organ of Laurenskerk, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Marcussen & Son) was made using the Hauptwerk remote digital access system. The Ferrari works he plays on this new CD are a wonderfully atmospheric Lady Frankenstein, the ethereal Maria Restituta, the lovely Historia Gullielmae, a Felliniesque Viva la vida and the dramatic Ecstasy (La transverberazione di Teresa d’Avila). Highly recommended.
CARSON COOMAN - THE CLOAK WITH THE STARS DIVINE ART DDA 25159
Carson Cooman is a prolific American composer born in 1982 with a catalogue of works in many forms, ranging from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His music has been performed on all six inhabited continents and has appeared on over 25 recordings. As a concert organist, he specialises exclusively in the performance of new music and over 130 new works have been written for him by composers from around the world. He is also a writer on musical subjects, producing articles and reviews, and serves as an active consultant on music business matters to composers and performing organizations. Cooman’s organ compositions come in many styles, from liturgical models, to more gritty and substantial pieces such as his organ symphonies and preludes and fugues. Volume 6 in Divine Art’s series of his music features recordings of Erik Simmons playing the 1882 Cavaillé-Coll Organ of the Abbey of Saint-Etienne in Caen, France. Simmons plays with fine technique and assurance and the liver recording quality is outstanding. The compositions (all written in 2017) are the stirring Three St. Francis Legends, Piccola fantasia francescana, The Cloak with the Stars (a shimmeringly beautiful piece), Entrata festiva, the exciting Diptych for New Life, Gebet, Sketch No. 3, the beautiful Ciaccona angelica, Variations on a Theme of Andreas Willscher, and the evocative San Andreas Suite. Much of this music, tonal and accessible though never lacking in complex chromaticism, was written for and dedicated to the German composer Andreas Willscher whose works Cooman is also recording for Divine Art, the latest of which is WILLSCHER ORGAN MUSIC - ORGAN SYMPHONIES 19 & 20 (DIVINE ART DDA 25162). Andreas Willscher has won many awards for his compositions, which range widely from symphonic forms and oratorio to cabaret jazz and rock. His organ works are especially fine and varied – involving often a mélange of post-tonal modernism, minimalism, and jazz and rock elements. Willscher is also an active writer of literary and scientific articles and as a collector and preserver of ‘lost’ and forgotten music of the past. Organ Symphony Nos 19 and 20 were both composed in 2017 so are truly contemporary. They are lively, thrilling works with great rhythmic vitality. The third work is a suite – The Beatitudes – composed in 1974 at the beginning of the composer’s career. Carson Cooman is organist of the Memorial Church at Harvard University and this is his second recording of Willscher’s music for Divine Art as performer. It was made on the Schulze organ (1868) in St. Bartholomew, Armley, Leeds in a live performance using the Hauptwerk system.
PER NORGARD - THE ORGAN BOOK / CANON DACAPO 6220656
Per Nørgård is the most significant Danish composer after Carl Nielsen and Vagn Holmboe. Born in Denmark in 1932, he studied with Holmboe at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, and subsequently with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Influenced by the Nordic styles of Sibelius, Nielsen and Holmboe, he has also explored the modernist techniques of central Europe, eventually developing his own serial technique, the ‘infinity series’, the mechanisms of which can be compared to the growth and symmetry of nature. Most recently, in the 1990s, he has worked with sophisticated layerings of rhythms and lines, and has focused on the effects of ‘interference’ in his quest to capture the music that otherwise escapes our ears. Per Nørgård’s music originates in an inextinguishable desire to explore the marvels of the world and the powers of music. Throughout his long and influential composing life Per Nørgård has had an extensive relationship with the organ. On this recording the renowned organist Jens E. Christensen performs both The Organ Book, an evocative collection of shorter pieces suitable for use in church services, and the overwhelming Canon, a large-scale organ work characterized by its infinity series and golden rhythmic proportions.
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS NO. 99 PRIORY PRCD1168
Priory Records is the largest producer of church music in the UK with an unparalleled history of outstanding recordings over the last 30 years, from the first recordings in 1981 that pre-dated the CD era up to the latest audio CD and Blu-Ray disc technology. The majority of Priory’s extensive catalogue is captured from spectacular Churches and Cathedrals around the world, and its long-running Great European Organs series captures the greatest and most important organs of Europe. In this new release, David Leigh makes his Priory debut playing a recital of music on the Father Willis organ of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The programme dominated by Edwin Lemare’s gigantic Organ Symphony No. 1. The other pieces by Harvey Grace, Sir Robert Stewart and Giroud are first recordings. The final volume in Priory’s exemplary series, GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS NO. 100 (PRIORY PRCD1158), features the organ of Liverpool Cathedral played by David Poulter, the cathedral choir director. Priory’s Great Europen Organ is the biggest of its kind in the world and began with its first release from King’s College, Cambridge in 1986. Featuring organs from Iceland to Latvia and from Majorca to Switzerland, many famous organs have been included and hailed as ground breakers not only for their recorded quality but also in the adventurous programme selections, much of which was new to the catalogues. The marathon ends appropriately with probably the most famous British organ. Liverpool’s Henry Willis III Organ is the largest Cathedral organ in the UK as well as one of the largest in the world, with a reputation of excitement and quality to match. This final recording features a programme of well known music that suits the instrument and the building with its large acoustics. Elgar’s grand G major Sonata is followed by Frank Bridge’s Adagio in E, Percy Whitlock’s joyous March: Dignity and Impudence, Robert Howells’ Master Tallis’ Testament, Nigel Rasthorne’s arangement of Londonderry Air, and music from William Walton (Crown Imperial, Orb and Sceptre and his inspiring Henry Vth Suite).
CARSON COOMAN - PRELUDIO DIVINE ART DDA 21229
On this double-CD release, Eric Simmons plays 28 pieces of music by American composer Carson Cooman on the splendid 1730s-era organ of the Basilica Mariä-Himmelfahrt in Krzeszów (Grüssau), Poland. This impressive music was inspired by and written in the style of the Renaissance and the early Baroque and will appeal to both early music lovers and followers of the modern organ repertoire. The brilliant Simmons gives assured performances throughout ans highlights include the opening and closing Canzonas, the pristine Organ Sonatina No. 2, a hypnotic Pavane from Three Renaissance Dances, and the beautiful Diapason Voluntary.
REGER - COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS NAXOS 8501601
Max Reger (1873-1916) was a progressive early modernist composer, conductor, organist and pianist in Germany who during his lifetime was considered one of the great composers of his era alongside Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. He produced an enormous output over little more than 25 years (he died aged only 43), writing more than a thousand works in all forms except opera, though few of his compositions are well known in the 21st century. He wrote a large amount of music for organ, the most famous being his Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the technically challenging Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H, and the glorious Choral Preludes. While a student under Hugo Riemann in Wiesbaden, Reger met and became friends with the famous German organist, Karl Straube who premiered many of Reger’s works for the instrument. Reger’s legacy extends to other composers who were influenced by him, including Bela Bartok, Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Sergey Prokofiev and Arnold Schoenberg (who considered him a genius). Regarded as the greatest German composer for organ since Johann Sebastian Bach, Reger’s music is complex, inventive and hugely varied. This comprehensive 16-CD box set from Naxos brings together Reger’s Complete Organ Works played on seven different organs by twelve internationally acclaimed organists: Bernard Haas, Ludger Lohmann, Josef Still, Hans-Jürgen Kaiser, Stefan Frank, Martin Welzel, Edgar Krapp, Christian Barthen, Kirsten Sturm and Wolfgang Rübsam. The performances and recording quality are excellent and this splendid collection is sure to spark renewed interest in Max Reger as the hundredth anniversary of his death falls in 2016.
KARG-ELERT - COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS, VOL. 12 PRIORY PRCD 1088
Accomplished German composer Sigfrid Karg-Elert was born Siegfried Theodor Karg in 1877 in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany, the youngest of the twelve children. The family moved to Leipzig, where Siegfried received his first musical training and private piano instruction. Composer Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek arranged a tuition-free scholarship for him at the Leipzig Conservatory to study with Salomon Jadassohn, Carl Reinecke, Alfred Reisenauer and Robert Teichmüller. Siegfried then worked as a piano teacher in Magdeburg and changed his name, at the suggestion of his concert-agent, to Sigfrid Karg-Elert, adding a variant of his mother’s maiden name to his surname and adopting the Swedish spelling of his first name. Returning to Leipzig, he started to devote himself to composition, primarily for the piano (encouraged by Edvard Grieg, whom he greatly admired). In 1904 he met the Berlin publisher Carl Simon, who introduced him to the harmonium, and he went on to create an extensive body of original works for this instrument. He later reworked several of these compositions for organ. After serving as a regimental musician during World War I, Karg-Elert was appointed instructor of music theory and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. The cultural climate in Germany after the war was hostile to the internationally oriented, French-influenced Karg-Elert, and although his late-romantic, impressionistic music was admired outside Germany it was neglected in his home country. He died there in 1933, aged only 55, and the popularity of his compositions declined, before a successful revival in the 1970s. Karg-Elert considered himself an outsider, influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach, Grieg, Debussy, Scriabin, and early Arnold Schoenberg. His profound knowledge of music theory allowed him to stretch the limits of traditional harmony without losing tonal coherence. His favourite instrument to compose for was the Kunstharmonium, a versatile French creation that he often played as a recitalist. It allowed him the range of colours he preferred, and he wrote primarily for small ensembles or solo instruments like organ, piano and harmonium. On this 12th volume in Priory’s comprehensive exploration of Karg-Elert’s lively and expressive music, Stefan Engels plays two of the composer’s best known pieces. Homage to Handel is a vast work of many variations which uses the colours of the organ and gives a superb demonstration of its sounds and possibilities. The haunting Trois Impressions is a work of ethereal beauty, and the less well known Partita perfectly suits the Steinmeyer organ at the Marienkirche, Landau/Pfalz, Germany.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE OXRECS OXCD-128
Frikki Walker has been Director of Music at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow, since 1996, and under his outstanding leadership the choir has more than doubled in size. He has also worked with many of Scotland’s most prestigious choirs and is an accomplished organist and composer, as well as an avid fan of Star Trek, Dr Who and Lego, with a huge collection of bookmarks. On this entertaining CD he plays a selection of mostly lighter repertoire on the organ of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow. This is music that has proved popular with audiences in the concert halls over the years, particularly at the daily organ concerts in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Highlights include Paean by the splendidly named English composer Oliphant Chuckerbutty, a jaunty arrangement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the stirring Grand March from Verdi’s Aida, Edward Elgar’s graceful Salut d’amour, three excerpts from the Richard III film music by William Walton, Frikki Walker’s own Aria, originally written as a teaching exercise using only two chords, a transcription of Max Steiner’s beguiling Theme from A Summer Place, and A Scottish Fancy, commissioned from young composer Piers Kennedy and based on well-known Scottish folk tunes.
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS NO. 95 PRIORY PRCD 1127
On this latest release in Priory’s Great European Organs series, Rudolf Müller plays the Steinmeyer Organ of Monastery Church Mariannhill Würzburg. Müller was born in 1977 in Würzburg, Germany, and began his musical education at the age of five years, starting organ lessons aged 13 and later studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt. A prizewinner at many international organ competitions (including first prize and audience prize at the International Bach Competition in Wiesbaden), he became organist at the monastery church Mariannhill in 1994. On this his debut recording for Priory the programme of music by Pierne, Durufle, Langlais Jongen, Reuchsel, Rutti, Bach and Gardonyi is a great showcase for the outstanding Steinmeyer organ – one of many quality organs built by G. F. Steinmeyer around Europe. The works include Prelude and Fugue in G BWV541 (JS Bach); An fliessenden Wassern from Vita - The Life of Saint Fridolin (Carl Rutti); Hommage a F Liszt (Zsolt Gardonyi); Trois Pieces opus 29: Prelude / Cantilene / Scherzando (Gabriel Pierne); Scherzo opus 2 (Maurice Durufle); Hymne d’Actions de graces Te Deum (Jean Langlais); Recueillement et Beatitude (Eugene Reuchsel); Scherzetto opus 108/1 (Joseph Jongen); and Fantasie und Fuge on BACH opus 46 (Max Reger).
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS NO. 91 PRIORY PRCD1102
In this release, Daniel Cook plays a recital of little known British and French music on the fine Harrison and Harrison organ in St. David’s Cathedral. Cook is Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey, where he is the principal organist to the Abbey Choir and Assistant Director of Music. Prior to this he was Organist and Master of the Choristers of St Davids Cathedral and Artistic Director of the St Davids Cathedral Festival, where he was responsible for the maintenance and development of the cathedral’s musical ministry. St. David’s is one of the smallest British Cathedrals and is situated on the most westerly point of Wales, jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. The programme here includes music by Felix Mendelssohn and has been chosen to illustrate the instrument as well as to combine music that is essentially for the collector. GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS NO. 92 (PRIORY PRCD1109) features the Metzler Organ in Zurich’s Grossmünster Cathedral (Zurich’s largest church). The Metzler is the fourth organ in the 900-year-old Grossmünster (the first is thought to have been built in the 14th century) and was inaugurated in 1960. This instrument was designed as a new mechanical-action, electro-pneumatic registration 67-stop organ built by the Swiss firm Metzler & Sohne Orgelbau. Before 1960, tracking systems were usually electric or pneumatic. Cathedral organist Andreas Jost says that the advantage of this system is that you the organist can articulate much more accurately and more deliberately. On this recording he plays a programme which centres around Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 40 masterpiece, Variations on a Recitative. Music by J S Bach (including his Toccata in E major), Dietrich Buxtehude and Hans Vollenweider complete this exciting release.
GREAT AUSTRALASIAN ORGAN SERIES, VOL. 7 PRIORY 1031
International concert organist Martin Setchell, born in Blackpool and educated in England, emigrated to New Zealand in 1974 on his appointment to the University of Canterbury School of Music where he is Associate Professor of Music and tutor in organ. He combines his university teaching and research career with a busy schedule of recitals and concerts as soloist, accompanist and continuo player on organ and harpsichord. Ten years ago he was appointed curator of the newly installed Rieger pipe organ in the Christchurch Town Hall. Since then, he has devoted himself entirely to promoting the organ as a concert instrument in its own right, playing to great acclaim on his many tours throughout the world. On this recording in Priory’s Great Australasian Organ Series, he gives exciting virtuoso performances on the Rieger organ of music by, among others, Handel (Overture to the Occasional Oratorio), Lazare-Auguste Maquaire (Première Symphonie in E flat major, dedicated ‘à mon cher maître Ch. M. Widor’), Welsh composer Karl Jenkins (Celebratio), Jean Françaix (Suite Carmélite), Camille Saint-Saëns (O salutaris hostia from his Mass in G minor) and Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély (his brilliant Boléro de Concert). Priory has also released GREAT AUSTRALASIAN ORGAN SERIES, VOL. 8, with Douglas Mews playing an exciting progamme of little recorded music to suit the Wellington Town Hall’s fabulous Norman and Beard instrument (PRIORY 1030).
J.S. BACH - ORGAN SONATAS MELBA MR 301125
On this recording of Bach’s organ sonatas, BWV 525–530, sometimes called trio sonatas, Australian-born Christopher Wrench plays on the organ in Garnisons Kirke, Copenhagen. He writes: ‘From the moment I first played the Lund reconstruction of the Garnisons Kirke organ when preparing for a recital in 1998, I dreamt of recording the Bach Organ Sonatas on the instrument. With my strong interest in informed performance practice, there was no doubt in my mind that the tonal freshness of this particular instrument and the exceptional agility of its mechanism would provide a superb medium for the realisation of Bach’s musical vision.’ Johann Nikolaus Forkel, 1802, in his survey of Bach’s life and work remarked: ‘One cannot say enough of their beauty. They were made during the composer’s most mature age and can be looked upon as his chief work of this kind.’ The Garnisons Kirche organ, built in 1995 by Carsen Lund and based on a 1724 design by Lambert Daniel Kastens, has a clear and authentic vibrancy. Christopher Wrench’s meticulous technique transforms pieces that are more often performed as demanding exercises into an enjoyable and satisfying experience for the listener, enhanced by excellent SACD Surround Sound (78 minutes) on this recording. The picture disc comes in an attractive digipak with a colour booklet containing an essay, translations and biographical notes.
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS NO 74 PRIORY PRCD 871
Appropriately in the year when Liverpool becomes Europe’s City of Culture, this latest releases in Priory’s long-running Great European Organs series features the organ of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. This magnificent instrument was built by J.W.Walker and Sons and was completed in time for the opening of the Cathedral in 1967. With its four manuals, 108 stops and 4565 pipes, the organ is perched high above the entrance to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, forming a dramatic backdrop to the sanctuary. On this recording, it is played by Richard Lea, who studied at Royal Northern College of Music, and Christ’s and Notre Dame College, Liverpool. He was the Organ Scholar at the Metropolitan Cathedral and then Organist at the Church of St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire before being appointed Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1999. He continues to direct local choral ensembles such as the Brixi Singers and the Wigan Choral Society, as well as make numerous recordings and broadcasts. The music here is by John S Benson (Psalm 145), Naji Hakim (The Embrace of Fire), the underrated Caleb Jarvis (Sonata in E minor), Elisabeth Trustram (the beautiful Pastorale Interlude) and Nicholas Davies (Suite on the Magnificat).
PROMENADE – EDUARDO BELLOTTI LOFT LRCD-1097
Italian organ virtuoso Edoardo Bellotti makes his debut American recording with this musical ‘promenade’ based on a sampling of paintings at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York. The music is performed on the museum’s organ - the only full-size Italian Baroque organ in the Western hemisphere, and invites us to move with our imaginations into the realm of the Italian Baroque era through aural and visual art from that time and place. The seven organ works are paired with seven splendid paintings in the gallery and span about 120 years, from Girolamo Frescobaldi Toccata (Terza per l’organo, da sonarsi all’elevatione) to Giovanni Benedetto Platti (Sonata III, Op. 2), and carefully chosen in order to represent a musical commentary to the pictures. Between these pieces are musical interludes, or ‘promenades’ improvised by the artist Based on a simple theme, they act as a ‘refresher’ for the listener and give the entire programme a sense of continuity. Full colour images of the paintings are included in the CD’s accompanying booklet. Highlights include Antonio Vivaldi Concerto La Notte (‘The Night’) reflecting Alessandro Magnasco’s oil painting, ‘The Exorcism of the Waves’, and J. S. Bach’s Concerto in C, BWV 976 (after Vivaldi) accompanying British painter William James’s ‘The Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Looking West’. Edoardo Bellotti brings true Italian brio and imagination to the music and this new ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ takes us on delightful journey into another age.
BUXTEHUDE AND THE MEAN TONE ORGAN LOFT LRCD 1090-91
Diderich ‘Hansen’ Buxtehude (1637–1707) was born in Denmark, and was active as an organist, composer, and cultural entrepreneur in Denmark and Sweden as well as in Germany, where he became known as Dieterich Buxtehude. He grew up in Helsingør, Denmark, and served as organist in Helsingborg (now in Sweden) and Helsingør before accepting one of the most prestigious musical positions in North Germany, that of organist at St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck, in 1668. During his nearly forty years of service there he achieved fame not only as an organist but also as the composer and director of a concert series known as the Lübeck Abendmusiken. Although he left an impressive corpus of arias, sacred concertos, and cantatas for voices with instruments as well as two printed editions of sonatas for strings, it is chiefly his organ works that captured the attention of performers both in his day and in our own. His organ music appeals to modern listeners because it is full of the fantasy, variety and unpredictability that characterises seventeenth-century music, yet is rooted in the major-minor tonal system familiar to our ears. The works fall into two broad categories, those based on chorale melodies and those freely composed. He set many chorales as short preludes, with a highly ornamented melody to be played by the right hand on one manual, a two-voice accompaniment for a second manual, and a continuo-like bass for the pedal. Despite their unity of style, they show endless variety in their ornamentation. His extensive chorale fantasias, on the other hand, develop each phrase of the chorale in a contrasting style. His free pedaliter praeludia are the works for which e is best known, demonstrating his virtuosity as both a composer and a performer. The large organ that Buxtehude played in St Mary’s in Lübeck had fifty-four stops on three manuals and pedal. Recent research suggests that it may have been in mean tone, a tuning in which the tonal excursions that Buxtehude included in some of his praeludia would have been difficult to play. Hans Davidsson’s bold undertaking of the recording of Buxtehude’s entire organ repertoire in mean tone gives us startling new insights into how this ‘heavenly harmony’ might have sounded in the seventeenth century. This beautifully produced double-CD is the first in a projected three-volume series from Loft Recordings and is essential listening for anyone interested in early organ music.
RICHARD POPPLEWELL - ORGAN CONCERTOS PRIORY PRCD 874
Richard Popplewell was a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge, where he later returned as organ scholar after his education at Clifton. He was given his first organ lessons at King’s by Sir David Willcocks, who was organ scholar at that time. He studied under Sir John Dykes Bower at the Royal College of Music and went on to be assistant organist at St Paul’s Cathedral. He succeeded Dr Harold Darke as Director of Music at St Michael’s, Cornhill, and until 1979 he was organist, accompanist and deputy conductor to the Bach Choir. In 1979 he was appointed organist, choirmaster and composer at HM Chapels Royal, St James’s Palace. Now retired from the Chapel Royal and Royal College of Music, he continues his private teaching and work as a composer. As well as many pieces for organ and choir, Richard Popplewell has composed the two very attractive organ concertos that here receive their world premiere recordings, made in the Ulster Hall Belfast. One of Britain’s leading concert organists, Jane Watts, plays the splendid Hill/Mulholland organ and renowned conductor Sir David Willcocks directs the Ulster Orchestra. Jane Watts is a past student of Richard Popplewell and he dedicated his first of these concertos to her. The CD also includes recordings Jane Watts made in Rochester Cathedral of two accomplished solo works by Popplewell - his Elegy for Organ and Suite for Organ. Highly recommended.
PASSION - KAY JOHANNSEN CARUS 83.174
Kay Johannsen studied in Freiburg and Boston through scholarships awarded to him by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation, New York. Since 1994 he has been the choirmaster and organist at the Stiftskirche of Stuttgart, where he founded the Stuttgarter Kantorei and Ensemble 94. He also founded the solistenensemble stimmkunst in 2003. He has won several prestigious prizes at national and international organ competitions, including first prize at the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb in 1988. Since then, in addition to broadcast recordings, he has made many CDs featuring works by Bach, Boëly, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Franck, Reger, Widor and Förtig, and has performed at festivals around the world. As a continuo player he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado, the Vienna Philharmonic under Trevor Pinnock, or with Berliner Barocksolisten. During the time of Buxtehude and Bach, creativity in the improvisation upon chorales or free improvisation within the framework of a concert - even before purely technical agility - were the most important measure for the skill of an organist. Kay Johannsen has proved himself a master of this art with his acclaimed improvisations on well-known Christmas hymns (Carus 83.179) and his new CD features improvisations for Passion and Easter. The title ‘Passion’ refers to the story of the suffering of Christ but is also indicative of the intensity which inevitably occurs when improvising on the Mühleisen Organ in the Stiftskirche Stuttgart. Highlights include ‘O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß’, ‘Jesu, deine Passion’, ‘Christ ist erstanden’ and ‘Jesus lebt, mit ihm auch ich’. Highly recommended.
BUXTEHUDE – ORGAN MUSIC DIVINE ART DDA25041
Diderich ‘Hansen’ Buxtehude (1637–1707) was born in Denmark, and was active as an organist, composer, and cultural entrepreneur in Denmark and Sweden as well as in Germany, where he became known as Dieterich Buxtehude. He grew up in Helsingør, Denmark, and served as organist in Helsingborg (now in Sweden) and Helsingør before accepting one of the most prestigious musical positions in North Germany, that of organist at St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck, in 1668. During his nearly forty years of service there he achieved fame not only as an organist but also as the composer and director of a concert series known as the Lübeck Abendmusiken. Although he left an impressive corpus of arias, sacred concertos, and cantatas for voices with instruments as well as two printed editions of sonatas for strings, it is chiefly his organ works that captured the attention of performers both in his day and in our own. Marking the tercentenary of Buxtehude’s death, this CD features fine new performances of thirteen of the great baroque master’s organ works, recorded by David Hamilton and played on the Aubertin organ at the University of Aberdeen. David Hamilton studied at the University of Glasgow, the North-German Organ Academy and Zwolle Conservatory, and has performed throughout western Europe as well as in North America and Russia. He has a particular interest in music of the north-German Baroque (Sweelinck-Buxtehude) and this album makes an excellent introduction to a composer who paved the way for the great J S Bach.
BASIL HARWOOD – COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS PRIORY PRCD 781
Basil Harwood was born in Woodhouse, Gloucestershire (the youngest son of 12 children) and educated at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Oxford before continuing his musical studies in Leipzig. His first appointment was in 1883 as organist at St Barnabas, Pimlico, before he became organist of Ely Cathedral in 1887. In 1892 he moved to Oxford as organist of Christ Church Cathedral, together with other appointments as Precentor of Keble College, Choragus of the University, Editor of the Oxford Hymn Book, and the first conductor of the Oxford Bach Choir. He retired from professional life in 1907 in order to manage the family properties in Gloucestershire and to devote more time to composition. Harwood’s organ works are described by the Grove Dictionary of Music as ‘an important addition to the modern literature of the instrument’ and in its obituary of the composer The Times said that he had initiated a new school of English organ music in the same way as Franck initiated a new French School. The music is certainly distinctive and unlike that any other English composer, ranging from small, expressive miniatures to large-scale, complex works that make considerable demands on both performer and instrument. Basil Harwood is mostly remembered today for an organ sonata, a Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and his anthem: O how glorious, but interest in his innovative music has been revived by Priory with its excellent series complete Organ works. This third and final volume features the acclaimed Adrian Partington playing the Organ of Clifton College, Bristol, and the works include the spirited In Exitu Israel, the demanding Voluntary in D flat (subtitled ‘a study for the left hand, with pedal obligato’), Three Short Pieces, the grand Toccata Op. 49 (inspired by the mighty Willis organ at Liverpool Cathedral), an exquisite Lullaby, and the elegiac Three Preludes on Anglican Chants.
WIDOR - ORGAN SYMPHONIES NOS. 5 & 6 GUILD 7305
Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) was born in Lyon to a family of organ builders. The famous French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll was friend of the family and arranged for the talented young boy to study organ in Brussels with Jacques Lemmens and composition with François-Joseph Fétis, director of the Brussels Conservatory. Cavaillé-Coll continued to take an almost paternal role in guiding Widor’s career. In 1870, he banded together together with Saint-Saëns and Gounod to influence the church council at Saint-Sulpice, Paris, to appoint the 26-year-old Widor to the position of organist, an appointment that would last for 64 years. Commanding the resources of such a great instrument encouraged Widor to use the multi-movement plan of the orchestral symphony and translate it to the organ. César Franck paved the way with his pioneering Grande Pièce Symphonique (1863), but it was Widor who published the first organ symphony, in 1872, when he was just 28. Widor's symphonies can be divided into three groups. The first four symphonies comprise and are more properly termed ‘suites‘. Although showing great variety in writing, neither the individual movements nor the symphonies themselves compare to his later works. The second group of symphonies includes his Fifth, which has five movements and closes with the famous Toccata, often played as a recessional at wedding ceremonies and even at the close of the Christmas Midnight Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica. The opening movement of the Sixth Symphony is also well-known and these two magisterial works were published together in 1879. Both symphonies feature on this CD, performed in exceptional style by Colin Walsh and recorded at the splendid organ of Lincoln Cathedral.
PRIORY LP ARCHIVE SERIES, VOL. 7 PRIORY PRCD 919
This is the seventh release in Priory’s invaluable series, re-issuing for the first time on CD some of the best of the label’s recordings made in the LP era. Using cedar technology, recordings from the 1980s have been expertly cleaned up and remastered. Recorded in magnificent settings such as St Albans Abbey, Wells Cathedral and Bath Abbey, the organists here are Stephen Darlington, Colin Andrews, Christopher Brayne, Arthur Wills and Dudley Holdroyd. The music is by Camille Saint-Saëns, the British composer Paul Patterson, Jean Langlais, Arthur Wills, Guy Weitz, Marcel Dupré and Louis-Claude Daquin. VOL. 3 in the series (PRCD 915) features Peter Gould, Malcolm Archer, Andrew Armstrong and Paul Derrett performing March Heroque (Herbert Brewer), Derbyshire Marches 1 & 2 (Haydn), Variations on Herr Jesu Christ zu uns wend (Georg Bohm), Toccatina (Walter Alcock), Allegro Martiale (Harold Greenhill), Introduction and Passacaglia (Max Reger), A Fancy (Thomas Tomkins), Air Berceuse and Procession (Herbert Sumsion), Variations on Eris een Kindeke geboren op ard (Willem Mudde), Pastorale (Joseph Bonnet), Madrigal (Edwin Lemare), Elegy (George Thalben Ball) and Introduction and Allegro (Francis Bache). The organs are those of of Derby Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, Dunfermline Abbey and St Alkmund’s Church in Whitchurch. VOL. 4 (PRCD 916) has recordings made between 1982 and 1984 in Kidderminster Town Hall (with organist Andrew Millington), Guildford Cathedral (Philip Moore), the Albert Hall (Michael Overbury) and Coventry Cathedral (Christopher Bowers-Broadbent). The music is by Elgar (Sonata No 2 in B flat), Louis Vierne, Saint-Saëns (Fantasie in D flat), Charles Tournemire (Improvisation on Te Deum) and Herbert Howells (three Rhapsodies).
BACH – ORGAN CHORALES PRIORY PRCD 820
This collection of J S Bach’s Organ Chorales BWV 651-668, known as the Leipziger Chorales (formerly the ‘Eighteen Chorales’), were composed between 1708 and 1719 when Bach was employed as Kapellmeister in Weimar. Together with the Clavier Ubung part III, the Orgelbüchlein, and the Schübler Chorales, the Leipziger Chorales form the bulk of Bach’s chorale-based organ compositions. On this new recording, Andrew Arthur performs twelve of the chorales on a modern day organ - the Rieger of St Marylebone Church, London - as well as the brilliant Prelude & Fugue in A minor, which also probably dates from Bach’s Leipzig period. These quintessential Bach chorales can also be heard played by Gillian Weir on Priory PRCD 800.
PARISIAN SPLENDOUR - DAVID M PATRICK PRIORY PRCD 213
David M. Patrick, born in 1947, is one of the best British organists of his generation. After graduating with distinction from the Royal College of Music, he decided to specialise in the romantic and modern French repertoire, accepting the challenge of playing organ music of the highest technical and artistic standard. He has long championed somewhat neglected works by composers such as Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne and Maurice Duruflé, and recorded this varied selction of French virtuoso music at Buckfast Abbey in 1987. 'Parisian Splendour' includes the Fantaisie in E flat by Camille Saint-Saëns, the famous Toccata (Symphonie No. 5 in F) by Widor, Allegro Vivace (Symphonie No. 1 in D) by Vierne, and Toccata from the Suite (1932) by Duruflé. The other pieces are by Joseph Bonnet (Romance sans paroles), Eugene Gigout (Toccata in B minor), Jehan Alain, Charles Tournemire, Louis Lefébure-Wély (Elévation No. 4), Alexandre Guilmant, Leon Boëllmann and Théodore Dubois. Made in 1922, the splendid Buckfast Abbey organ was re-specified in 1952 as a four manual instrument, with 70 speaking stops on which both classical and modern works can be played with equal facility.
STANLEY VANN/KENNETH LEIGHTON - GARY SIELING PRIORY PRCD 827
Stanley Vann, born in 1910, was the assistant organist at Leicester Cathedral and Chorus Master of Leicester Philharmonic for Sir Henry Wood and Sir Malcolm Sargent. He later became organist at Chelmsford and Peterborough Cathedrals, and composed eight Masses, fourteen Evening Services, many motets, anthems and organ pieces. Kenneth Leighton was born in Wakefield and studied at Oxford and with Petrassi in Rome before going on to teach at Edinburgh University. His compositions include two symphonies, eight concertos for various solo instruments, an opera and some fine church music, as well as a wide range of chamber, instrumental and vocal works. This invaluable CD contains first recordings of short organ pieces by nine British composers, including Stanely Vann and Gary Sieling, who came together after the death of Kenneth Leighton in 1988 to compose works for a tribute album. This is included here together with the major organ works of Stanley Vann, who is so far much under-represented in the catalogues. Gary Sieling recorded his exemplary performances on the two organs in Chelmsford Cathedral - the first commercial recording of these instruments.
VICTORIAN ORGAN SONATAS, VOL. 3 PRIORY PRCD 812
Percy C. Buck (1871-1947) was an English writer on music as well as a music editor, teacher, composer and organist. He studied at the Royal College of Music before becoming director of music at Harrow School and was subsequently appointed organist of Worcester College, Oxford. In 1910 he became professor of music at Trinity College, Dublin. In both his teaching and writing, Buck was influential in advancing a more liberal treatment of examination in music theory. He also co-edited The English Psalter (1929), The Oxford Song Book (1931) and The Oxford Nursery Song Book (1934). His published works include various piano pieces, anthems and songs, as well as the three accomplished organ sonatas heard on this illuminating CD. Rupert Gough plays the superb Willis Organ of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Henry Willis and Sons built the instrument in 1902 (it was restored in 1964 and 1994) it is still considered the finest romantic organ in Ireland, with 65 speaking stops and over 4000 pipes.
TOUCH DOWN IN RIGA - IVETA APKALNA QUERSTAND VKJK 0404
Concert organist Iveta Apkalna, one of Latvia’s most acclaimed artists abroad, recently returned to her homeland after a four month concert tour leading her through festivals in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Finland. She recorded her second CD, ‘Touch down in Riga’, last autumn on the famous historic organ in Riga Dom Cathedral. This wonderful instrument has more than 6768 pipes and 124 stops and was built by the German company E.F.Walcker & Co in 1883/84, when it was considered the largest and most modern of the world. On this exhilarating CD Iveta Apkalna plays two pieces of splendid German Romantic music by Max Reger (Erste Sonate and Wie schön leucht’ uns der Morgenstern) as well as two adventurous contemporary works by Naji Hakim (Bagatelle) and Péteris Vasks (Cantus ad pacem).
GIGOUT - THE COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS, VOL 3 PRIORY PRCD 763
Eugene Gigout (1844-1925) held the post of organist for most of his career at the church of St. Augustin in paris. As well as being one of the finest early 20th century organists, he travelled and performed widely, was professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory and wrote a great deal of organ music, including 400 short pieces with pedal ad lib, and church music. Among his friends Fauré and Saint-Saëns, with whom he studied at the Neidermeyer School in Paris. Gigout’s scholarly and austere style can be heard at its purest on this latest CD in the Priory series, with Gerard Brooks playing the splendid Organ of St Etiennes in Caen. The works featured include Dix Pièces and Poemes Mystiques.
PRIORY LP ARCHIVE SERIES, VOL. I PRIORY PRCD 913
This is the first volume in an intriguing series is a double album. On the first disc David Hill plays the restored Willis III Organ at Westminster Cathedral Music, with two works each by Ferenc Liszt (Fantasia and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam and Adagio in D flat) and Healey Willan (Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue and Postlude in D). On the second disc, John Porter plays the Organ of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Music includes pieces by Sidney Campbell, William Harris, J.S. Bach, Jean Langlais and Joseph Jongen.
THE ORGAN MUSIC OF GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN, VOL. 7 QUERSTAND VKJK 0304
This is the penultimate volume in the projected series of eight devoted to music on organs created by the great Gottfried Silbermann. The organ which made Silbermann famous, launching him emphatically into the first rank of organ builders, is the great organ in the cathedral at Freiberg. Dietrich Wagler has been the cathedral organist for 15 years and probably knows this world-renowned instrument better than any other organist of modern times. Since 1939, another Silbermann organ has been housed in the cathedral, a smaller instrument which was to be found originally in the Freiberger Johanniskirche. Dietrich Wagler plays several works on both of these magnificent instruments on this album, as well as performing on other Silbermann.organs at Helbigsdorf and Oederan. The music includes compositions by Johann Kuhnau, Georg Muffat, J.S. Bach and Felix Mendelssohn.
THE ORGAN MUSIC OF GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN, VOL. 1 QUERSTAND VKJK 0022
This is the first volume in an ambitious projected series of eight devoted to the complete recording of music on organs created by the great Gottfried Silbermann, marking the 250th anniversary of his death in 1753. All 32 remaining instruments from the famous saxon organ builder are featured, with one oganist playing four instruments on each CD. The first volume has Ewald Koolman and the organs of Freiberg/St. Petri, Tiefenau, Niederschona and Gosshartmannsdorf. The music is mostly by J. S. Bach, with other well-chosen compositions by Johann Bernhard Bach, Johann Rudolf Ahle and Johann Christoph Kellner. Other performers in this valuable series so far are Felix Friedrich (Vol. 2 VKJK 0207), Jean Ferrard (Vol. 3 VKJK 0219) and Martin Haselbock (Vol. 4 VKJK 0220).
LEIPZIG CHORALES - J. S. BACH RAVEN OAR-520
On this impressive double-CD the fine American organist Peter Sykes performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete Leipzig Chorales, played on the magnificent, free-standing organ built by Fritz Noack as opus 135 in 1999 for Langholtskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland. Wonderful acoustics, beautifully paced peformances and a splendid instrument combine to reveal the full extent of Bach’s unsurpassed originality, energy and creativity.
THE COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS OF OLIVIER MESSIAEN, VOL. 2 PRIORY PRCD 922.
Originally recorded for Collins Classics in association with BBC Radio 3, this second CD of a projected six volumes features the incomparable Dame Gillian Weir. These ledgendary recordings were made at Århus Cathedral in Denmark, with its wonderful acoustics. All the tracks in this new series have been digitally re-mastered and there are extensive programme notes. ‘One of the most impressive recording projects I have ever encountered’ - Independent on Sunday. ‘This is a Messiaen cycle that should now enter the shelves of every devotee of his music as a preferred version’ - BBC Music Magazine.
HERBERT HOWELLS - CANTICLES, VOL. 3 PRIORY 782.
In this third volume of Priory’s exemplary series featuring the Complete Morning and Evening Canticles of Herbert Howells, the expressive Collegiate Singers are directed by Andrew Millinger and the organist is Richard Moorhouse. Among the works here are St Augustine's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (written in 1967), Dallas Canticles (1975) and Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for St. Paul's Cathedral (1951). This is inspiring and beautiful music.
OLSSON - ORGAN MUSIC, VOL. 2 DAPHNE 1013.
Otto Olsson composed this collection of twelve pieces on Organ Motives in 1908. The order of the pieces follows the ecclesiastical year, each being based on a hymn associated with a particular feast day. This CD also includes the Fantasy and Fugue, Vi lofve dig, o store Gud, conceived on a grand scale and requiring the resources of a large organ. The piece alternates between solemn austerity, meditative calm and spirited polyphony. Sverker Jullander, one of Sweden’s finest organ players, uses the Setterquist & Son organ in Kristinehamn Church. With three manuals and 43 stops, this instrument is typical of the late Romantic Swedish tradition.
DE TEMPORE - HENNING FRIEDERICHS QUERSTAND VKJK 0117.
This invaluable recording features eight organ works by the distinguished composer, Henning Friederichs. These include his remarkable Depraefugium a-moll (played by Ellen Beinert), ‘Gott, heilger Schöpfer aller Stern’ (Kirsten Schweimler), ‘Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit’ (Helmut Fleinghaus), Choralpartita aus dem Oratorium ‘Petrus’ (Tilmann Benfer), ‘Veni, creator, imple ...’ (Johannes Geffert), Ciaconia ‘Vater unser im Himmelreich’ (Beate Rux-Voss), Partita ‘De profundis’ (Almuth Reuther) and ‘Nachklänge ...’ (Ruth Forsbach).
RHEINBERGER ORGAN SONATAS RAVEN OAR-530.
Bruce Stevens performs three inspired organ sonatas by Josef Rheinberger, playing three different historic American instruments. The works are Sonata 5 in F-sharp major, Op. 111 (1879 E. & G. G. Hook and Hastings organ, St. John's Roman Catholic Church, Orange, New Jersey), Sonata 4 in A minor, Op. 98 (1868 E. & G. G. Hook organ, St. Joseph's University Chapel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and Sonata 19 in G minor, Op. 193 (1861 E. & G. G. Hook/1902 Hook and Hastings organ, Immaculate Conception Church, Boston, Massachusetts).
POPULAR ORGAN MUSIC, VOL. 5 PRIORY PCD 599.
The assured soloist Judith Hancock plays the Arents Memorial Organ of Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. Her chosen works are by Bach (Partita diverse sopra ‘Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütit’, Chorale Prelude ‘Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier’, Chorale Prelude ‘Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier), Karg-Elert (Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König, Chorale Prelude ‘Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier’), Mozart (Adagio, Allegro, Adagio), Sowerby (Prelude on ‘Malabar’) and Ginastera (Toccata, Villancico y Fuga).
POPULAR ORGAN MUSIC, VOL. 6 PRIORY PCD 695.
Among the delightful pieces on this enjoyable CD are compositions by J S Bach (Fantasia ‘In dulci Jubilo’, Sonatina from Cantata 106 ‘Actus tragicus’, Prelude and Fugue in major), Boyce, arr. Hutchings (Gavot, from Symphony No. 4), Brahms (Chorale Prelude ‘Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele’), Whitlock (Paean, from ‘Five Short Pieces’), Elgar, arr. Grey (Salut d’Amour), Thalben-Ball (Elegy), Willan (Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue), Howells (Psalm Prelude Set 1 No. 1), Karg-Elert (Chorale-Improvisation ‘Nun danket alle Gott’), Fauré, arr. Stevenson (Après un Rêve), Vierne (Final, from Symphony No. 1. The Organ of Truro Cathedral is thrillingly played by Andrew Nethsingha.
JOHN NEAR - THE BOSTON YEARS RAVEN OAR-620.
On this outstanding double-CD collection John R. Near superbly plays the 237-rank Aeolian-Skinner Organ at The Mother Church in Boston. The admirable music is by, among others, Durufle, Messiaen (Dieu Parmi Nous), Gigout, Widor (Near was Widor’s biographer and editor of the definitive edition of his organ works), Dupre, Franck (Choral No. 1 in E), Kodaly and Vaughan Williams (The Old Hundredth).
SUSAN MOESER PLAYS BEDIENT OPUS 59 RAVEN OAR-490.
Susan Moeser performed this program as the opening recital of the Region VI Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Omaha, Nebraska, in June 1999. The organ of two manuals, 22 ranks, and 24 stops is placed in the large and resonant space of St. Vincent de Paul Church, where its eclectic resources reside in a west gallery and the console is located below the gallery on the nave floor. Susan Moeser here plays colourful works by William Albright (Sweet Sixteenths), Mozart (Fantasie in F Minor), Schumann, J. S. Bach (Prelude & Fugue in A Minor), Mendelssohn and Cesar Franck (Choral No. 3 in A Minor).
THE GREAT ORGAN AT ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR–98.
In 1988, ‘Prof.’ Keith Johnson recorded this CD (to be sold only at the Cathedral) of the Great Organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. This newly-remastered edition, issued with superior graphics and entirely new music notes, features some of the most spectacular organ music ever written, dazzlingly played by John Balka on a huge Ruffatti instrument in a magnificent acoustical environment. There are works by Jeremiah Clarke (Trumpet Voluntary), Johann Walther (Concerto in B minor), Eugene Gigout (Scherzo), Claude Balbastre (Variations on a Noel), Julius Reubke (Fugue), Louis Vierne (Carillon), Charles Marie Widor (Andante Sostenuto from Symphonie gothique) and many others.
DURUFLE - ORGAN MUSIC MOVE MD 3102.
Sydney-based Edward Theodore has recorded the complete organ works of the French composer and organist, Maurice Duruflé, on the magnificent organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. A former student with Duruflé, Theodore is well qualified to communicate the composer’s distinctive and powerful imagination in this collection of six works, which includes the highly praised Prélude, Adagio and Choral Variations on the theme of the ‘Veni Creator’. The CD also features Fugue on the Theme of the Carillon at Soissons Cathedral, Scherzo Op. 2, Prelude and Fugue on the Name ‘Alain, Introit for the Feast of the Epiphany, Prelude on the Introit for the Feast of the Epiphany and Suite Op. 5. ‘His playing is technically assured and musically refined throughout ... The recording is excellent’ - Victorian Organ Journal.
HISTORIC ORGANS OF MONTREAL ORGAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY OHS-99.
This impressive four-CD set features ten organs built by Casavant, five by S. R. Warren, four by Hellmuth Wolff, three by Guilbault-Thérien, three by Rudolf von Beckerath, two by Mitchell & Forté or Louis Mitchell and single organs built by William Nutting, Eusèbe Brodeur and Edward Lye. The playing by the 40 performers is outstanding, including Ken Cowan’s thrilling Ride of the Valkyries as played on the 1890/ 1924/1991 Casavant 4m at Notre Dame Basilica. Catherine Todorovski brings great musical qualities to her confident performance on the smallest instrument, a 3-rank Warren organ built in Skudamore style in 1871. Parts of the Montréal Organ Book are played by Yves Préfontaine on the enormous organ built in 18th-century French classical style by Guilbault-Thérien in the acoustic grandeur of the seminary chapel. Lucienne and Gaston Arel play Spanish works on the more eclectic Guilbault-Thérien at St. Léon.
MESSIAEN - THE COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS, VOL, 1 PRIORY PRCD 921.
On this first of a projected six volumes, the formidable Dame Gillian Weir plays organ compositions by Olivier Messiaen. Previously available as an acclaimed box set from Collins, these brilliant recordings are now reissued at mid-price after being re-mastered by Priory. The works featured here are Apparition de L’Eglise Eternelle, La Nativite du Seigneur and Le Banquet Celeste, all played in exemplary style on the splendid Organ of Arhus Cathedral, Denmark. ‘One of the most impressive recording projects I have ever encountered’ - Independent on Sunday.
KREBS - COMPLETE WORKS FOR ORGAN, VOL. 8 QUERSTAND VKJK 0107.
In this latest volume of the Querstand’s excellent series ongoing encompassing the entire organ works of Johann Ludwig Krebs, the dexterous Felix Friedrich plays twelve more formidable pieces. These include Fantasia in C ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ for trumpet and organ (three versions), Trio e-Moll (Andante) and Praeludium und Fuge pro organo pleno G-Dur. The gifted trumpeter is Robert Vanryne.
MUSIC SHE WROTE - ORGAN COMPOSITIONS BY WOMEN RAVEN OAR-550.
Frances Nobert plays organ works by eleven female composers in a program exploring many works either rarely or not otherwise recorded. The neglected composers include Erzsébet Szönyi (Praeambulum from Six Pieces for Organ), Ester Mägi (Dialog: Prelude with Choral), Margaret Vardell Sandresky (L'homme armé Organ Mass), Orpha Ochse (b. 1925): Chaconne and Emma Lou Diemer (Three American Hymn Preludes). Frances Nobert plays on the famous Rosales/Glatter- Götz organ of 81 ranks on three manuals completed in 1998 at the Congregational Church in Claremont, California.
LEIF KAYSER - ORGAN MUSIC DACAPO 8.224167.
Leif Kayser (1919-2001) was the most prolific Danish organ composer of the twentieth century, although he is not particularly well known. His Concerto per Organo, included here, deserves a place among the major works of the European organ literature. Each of the pieces on this CD comes from its own decade and range from the energetic outbursts of young manhood to the serenity of maturity. His distinctive music conjures up a matchless world of spiritual richness and beauty, and the assured performer on this recording is Jorgen Ellegard Frederiksen.
J. S. BACH - ORGAN WORKS RAVEN OAR-580
On this double-CD set, the formidable George Ritchie plays the Orgelbüchlein of J. S. Bach plus five other compositions on the magnificent 83-rank organ built by Paul Fritts at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. As well as the Orgelbüchlein, the works included are bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major, Fantasy and Fugue in C Minor, Trio Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Concerto in C Major (after Ernst) and Prelude & Fugue in F Minor.
ORGELBUCHLEIN - CALVIN BOWMAN MOVE MD3162.
The splendid young Australian rising star Calvin Bowman plays J. S. Bach’s ‘Orgelbüchlein’ (Little Organ Book) on this beautifully paced double-CD. Bowman’s enthusiasm and commitment to Bach's keyboard music is obvious in this performance played on the Ahrend organ, Robert Blackwood Hall, Melbourne. The ‘Orgelbüchlein’ is a record of Bach's inspired improvisations of existing hymn tunes - written down improvisations that provide insight into Bach’s brilliance both as composer and performer. ‘Bowman shows mastery of the organ and a great love for these seductive masterpieces’ - The Melburnian.
VISIONS OF ETERNITY - MARCIA VAN OYEN RAVEN OAR-570.
On this exhiarating CD, Marcia Van Oyen plays the 1999 John-Paul Buzard organ of three manuals and 69 ranks at Glenview Community Church, Glenview, Illinois. The cleverly-chosen repertoire features profound themes of eternity and resurrection, with composers such as Charles Tournemire (Victimae paschali laudes), Jean Langlais (Hymne d'action de Grâce: Te Deum Op. 5, No. 3), Herbert Howells (Rhapsody in C sharp, Psalm Prelude II) and Cesar Franck (Prière).
THE WORLD OF ORGAN TRANSCRIPTION - DAVID BRIGGS PRIORY PRCD 794.
David Briggs leaves Gloucester Cathedral as Master of the Music this year to pursue a career as a solo concert recitalist. This vividly recorded CD is a suitable testament of his enormous talent in a recital of orchestral transcriptions by Wagner (arr. Westbrook: The Meistersingers of Nuremberg), Haydn (arr. Ratcliffe: Three Pieces for Musical Clocks), Berlioz (arr. Briggs: Hungarian March), Bach (arr. Briggs: Air on the G string), Grieg (arr: Briggs: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1), Elgar (arr: Briggs: Pomp and Circumstance No. 1), Debussy (arr: Cellier: Sarabande – Pour le piano), Rimsky- Korsakov (arr: Nagel: Flight of the Bumblebee), Saint-Saens (arr. Fox: Poco Adagio from Organ Symphony) and Ravel (arr.Briggs: Daphnis and Chloé 2nd Suite).
AN ORGAN PILGRIMAGE - PETER LATONA RAVEN OAR-560.
Peter Latona plays the four organs of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, spectacularly recorded in the grand acoustics of the main church. Each instrument is played individually (south gallery organ, chancel organ, and Positiv organ built by M. P. Möller in 1969 and 1984 with about 120 ranks altogether), then the three are joined by the Washington Symphonic Brass for rousing works by Gabrielli (Canzon in echo) and Litaize (Cortége with Brass Ensemble). The fourth organ heard is the fine and much admired Schudi 3-29 tracker in the Crypt Church. Peter Latona, director of music at the National Shrine, plays beautifully, with Robert Grogan and Paul Hardy performing at mulitple consoles in the Gabrieli. There are also works by Guilmant, Leighton, Buxtehude, Brahms, among others.
THE REDDEL MEMORIAL ORGAN - MARTIN JEAN RAVEN OAR-480.
The famous Reddel Memorial Organ at Valparaiso University is located in the largest collegiate chapel in the world. It comprises 102 ranks as rebuilt and enlarged in 1996 by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Lake City, Iowa. Martin Jean, formerly University Organist at Valparaiso and now associate professor of organ at Yale University, plays with conviction works by William Bolcom, Liszt (Fantasia & Fugue), J. S. Bach (Prelude & Fugue in E minor), Brahms (Fugue in A-flat Minor) and Pachelbel (Ciaconna in F minor).
THE MENDELSSOHN ORGAN - JAMES HAMMANN RAVEN OAR-500.
Exploring Mendelssohn's own preference of organ style as built by the Stumm Brothers, James Hammann plays an organ such as Mendelssohn chose to play when demonstrating his works for friends. Built in 1785 by the Stumm Brothers, the organ used on this outstanding double-CD set is newly restored in the superb acoustic of St. Ulrich Church in Neckargemünd, Germany. Especially revealing is the very slow speech of the early string stops, bringing a unique effect akin to the glass harmonica which had achieved substantial popularity in Europe.
MODERN ORGAN MUSIC - PETER SYKES RAVEN OAR-640
The excellent Peter Sykes performs a wide range of intriguing modern music by Paul Hindemith (Sonata I), Anton Heiller (In Festo Corporis Christi), Jon Thorarinsson (Orgelmusik: Preludium, Chorale und Fuge über ein altes Thema), Jon Asgeirsson (Passacaglia), Gunnar Reynir Sveinsson (Jesus, My Morning Star: Meditation for Organ on an Old Child's Hymn), Jon Nordal (A Prelude on a Hymn that was never sung), Daniel Pinkham (Four Epigrams: Flute Soliloquy, Interlude, Reminiscence and Acclamation) and James Woodman (Prelude and Passacaglia - In Festo Pentecostes). Inspired by the modernist architecture of Neskirkja in Iceland and by the breadth of its new organ's musical possibilities, this recording has many connections within and between the cleverly chosen compositions.
MARCEL DUPRE - RENDEZVOUS A SAINT-SULPICE AEOLUS AE-10221.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of the brilliant French composer Marcel Dupre, Suzanne Chaisemartin plays a selection of his works on the Orgue Aristide Cavaille-Coll. Suzanne Chaisemartin brings to this subtle, powerful music all the necessary intelligence and virtuosity. A considerable achievement and a worthy tribute.
MESSIAEN - LIVRE DU SAINT SACREMENT GUILD GMCD 7228/9.
The Livre du Saint Sacrement (Book of the Blessed Sacrament) for organ, written by Olivier Messiaen in 1984, includes 18 pieces with strong religious themes. Some are short, others more developed, and together they bring to Messiaen's organ works a new sense of drama, explicit in its central movement and implicit in the cumulative effect of the final group of pieces. These alternate energetic activity with serene contemplation, bringing about a sense of heightened attentiveness on the part of the listener. In this fine recording, the Organ of Norwich Cathedral is played with great sensitivity and verve by Anne Page.
HANDEL IN LONDON QUERSTAND VKJK 0116.
On this recording the outstanding organist Johannes Geffert plays the Byfield Organ in the Parish of St Mary, Rotherhithe, London. All the music is by Handel and the works include his Concerto ‘Judas Maccabaus’, eight tunes for Mr Clay’s musical clock, two voluntaries, Concerto 13 ‘Kuckuck und Nachtingall’ and the wonderful Coronation Anthem from Zadok the Priest.
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS, NO. 61 PRIORY PRCD 689.
Continuing the excellent Priory series that features some of the best organs in Europe, Roger Judd plays three fine instruments located in the Church of St Laurenskerk, Rotterdam. These are a large organ in the west wall, a high transept organ and a small, one-manual choir organ. The music has been carefully chosen to complement these instruments and includes works by Robert Schumann (Six Fugues on Bach), Egon Wellesz (Patita in honorem J S Bach), Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Variations on Onder een linde groen) and Peter Racine Fricker (Pastorale).
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS, NO. 64 PRIORY PRCD 767.
Daniel Roth plays the wonderful Cavaille-Coll Organ of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. On this recording there are works by the performer (extracts from Livre d’Orgue pour le Magnificat) as well as by Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, Louis-Nicolas Clerambualt, Nicolas Sejan (Noel Suisse), Georges Schmitt (Offertoire in A major), Louis James Alfred Lefebure-Wly, Charles-Marie Widor (Adagio from Symphony No. 8), Jean-Jaques Grunewld and Marcel Dupre (Paraphrase sur le Te Deum).
ORGANS IN HANNOVER QUERSTAND VKJK-0108.
Four historic organs in the Hannover area of Germany are explored by the organist and historian Felix Friedrich, with Bernd Bartels playing trumpet. The works include Handel’s Suite in D for Trumpet & Organ, Johann Peter Kellner’s Prelude & Fugue in F, Pietro Baldassare’s Sonata in F for Trumpet & Organ, Christian Heinrich Rinck’s Prelude in C, Telemann’s Concerto in D for Trumpet & Organ, and the Fugue in D by J S Bach.
JOHAN LUDWIG KREBS - COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS PRIORY PRCD 735.
John Kitchen plays the Organ of St Salvator’s Chapel at the University of St Andrews in volume two of the complete organ works of Johann Ludwig Krebs. These include his Toccata in E, numerous fine Chorales and the Trio in D minor. Exemplary throughout.
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS, NO. 57 PRIORY PRCD 680.
David Briggs plays the Lewis Organ in the Church of the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, London. Famous composers such as Mendelssohn (War March of the Priests), Sir Hubert Parry and Frank Bridge (Adagio) mingle with the less well-known William Faulkes, Charles Macpherson and Cuthbert Harris.
GREAT EUROPEAN ORGANS, NO. 60 PRIORY PRCD 687.
Adrian Partington performs many splendid works by, among others, Samuel Barber (Variations on the Shape-note Hymn: Wondrous Love), Aaron Copland (Passacaglia), Max Reger, Andrew Carter and Hugh Blair (Sunset Hour, Postlude). The fine instrument used is the Willis Organ of Reading Town Hall.
VICTORIAN ORGAN SONATAS, VOL. 1 PRIORY PRCD 756.
These fascinating late eighteenth century sonatas are played with affection by John Kitchen at the Organ in the McEwan Hall, University of Edinburgh. There are interesting works by the half-forgotten composers John E West, Hugh Blair and W Battison Haynes.
REUBKE & LISZT - ROBERTA GARY ARSIS CD 128.
The brilliant organist Roberta Gary plays two great masterworks from the 19th century repertoire: Julius Reubke’s Sonata, Psalm 94 and the Fantasy & Fugue on the hymn "Ad nos, Ad Salutarem Undam" by Franz List. This recording on the wonderful, historic French romantic style organ at the Trés–Saint–Nom–de–Jésus Church, Montreal, Québec in Canada brings out all the subtlety and grandeur of the music, with clean but expansive acoustics. Outstanding performances of these incredibly beautiful works.
THE NEW BACH ORGAN AT THOMASKIRCHE QUERSTAND VKJK-0120.
The New Bach Organ is at Thomaskirche in Leipzig replicates the one that J S Bach knew in his hometown of Eisenach. Built in 1696-1707 by Georg Christoph Stertzing, the original instrument’s 60-stop specification was designed by Bach’s uncle for St. George’s Church. The remarkable organbuilder Gerald Woehl reproduction of it includes a feature for tuning to the ‘choir pitch’of Bach’s day and a device which can lower the pitch of the entire organ to baroque chamber pitch for performance with other instruments. The performer on this recording is Ullrich Bohme, and the works include J S Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in C and Piece d’Orgue in G as well as pieces by Vivaldi/Bach (Concerto in D) and C P E Bach.
ORGAN MASTER SERIES, VOLUME 2 PRIORY PRCD 752.
Gillian Weir’ second recording in Priory’s Organ Masters Series comes from Hexham Abbey in Northumberland, and the instrument she plays so brilliantly was designed and built by her late husband, Laurence Phelps. There are works by, among others, J S Bach, Mozart, Hindemith (Sonata for Organ) and Jean Francaix (Suite Carmelite, Suite Profane).
WIDOR/DUPRE - TON REIJNAERDTS TRA 2000-03.
Dutch organist and photographer Ton Reijnaerdts is based in the Netherlands town of Maastricht. On this CD he performs two imposing and technically demanding works, one by Charles-Marie Widor (his Organ Symphony No. 8) and the other by Widor’s brilliant pupil Marcel Dupré (Suite Bretonne, Op. 21). The music is admirably suited to the superb organ at Rochester Cathedral. ‘Ton Reijnaerdts playing is persuasive, stepping above the music's immediate barrier of extreme length to present a unified whole’ - The Organ.
DUPRE/FRANCK/WIDOR - MICHAEL MURRAY TELARC CD-80516.
Michael Murray plays works by three great organist/composers who have connections with the organ at St. Sulpice in Paris, which Albert Schweitzer called “the most beautiful organ in the world". Cesar Franck was among the performers at the organ’s inauguration, Widor became the church’s organist, and his composition pupil Dupre was first Widor’s assistant and later organist in his own right. Dupre trained Murray, who on this recording brings out the best in this fine historic instrument. The works featured are Cesar Franck’s majestic Grand Piece symphonique, the splendid Finale from Charles-Marie Widor’s Symphony No. 6, and six compositions by Marcel Dupre (Magnificat and an Antiphon from the 15 Pieces, the Carillon, Choral et Fugue, the Cortege et Litanie, Op. 19, No. 2; and the Final, Op. 27, No. 7.
THE COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS OF EUGENE GIGOUT PRIORY PRCD 761.
This is the first CD in a projected series of five, which will eventually contain all the organ works written by the French composer Eugene Gigout. All the music will be performed on instruments which Gigout himself might have played, as is the case in this recording of the Organ of Perpignan Cathedral, with its splendid acoustics. Gerard Brooks, a fine interpreter of French music, performs Rhapsodie sur des Airs Catalans, Suite de Six Pieces and Trois pieces. ‘This is a programme of immensely enjoyable music, all of which bears repeated listening and certainly deserves a place both in the catalogues and on the shelves of lovers of good organ music’ - Gramophone.
THE MENDELSSOHN ORGAN RAVEN OAR-510.
On this double CD the telented American organist and teacher James Hamann plays a variety of works by Mendelssohn, including his Six Sonatas for Organ, Opus 65. When the composer wrote these sonatas in 1845 he first played them to friends on organs built by the Stumm Brothers. This excellent recording ensures authenticity by performing Mendelssohn’s great music on a finely restored Stumm organ at St Ulrich Church in Neckargemund, a small town near Heidelberg.
A WALTON AND FINZI ORGAN ALBUM PRIORY PRCD 591.
Robert Glover plays the Organ of Hereford Cathedral in these works by William Walton and Gerald Finzi. The performer has skilfully arranged many of the pieces himself, including Walton’s stirring Henry V Suite and Finzi’s delightful Romance.
MONUMENTAL TOWN ORGANS OF MAASTRICHT - VOL I TRA 2001-04.
Ton Reijnaerdts plays a wide range of splendid historic organs in the ancient, picturesque town of Maastricht. The music on this fine double CD is extremely varied too, including works by J S Bach (Toccata and Fugue in F, etc), Thomas Tallis, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Echo Fantasia), Dietrich Buxtehude (Canzonetta), Handel (Fugue in G), Cesar Franck (Prelude, Fugue, Variation), Jean Langlais (Elevation, Communion) and Louis Vierne. ‘Ton Reijnaerdts is a man who can tackle anything. He plays Sweelinck with the same ease as he plays Vierne’ - Nederlands Dagblad.
THE RIEGER AT SCOTS’ MOVE MD 3244.
The internationally renowned organist, harpsichordist and conductor Douglas Lawrence performs glorious music that reveals the wide tonal palette available on the recently completed Rieger organ at The Scots’ Church in Melbourne, Australia. The music chosen includes pieces by Buxtehude, Pachelbel, J S Bach, Francois Couperin and Mendelssohn.