Alfrēds Kalniņš: Organ Music

Rupert Gough
Friday, August 11, 2023

Reinis draws a wide-ranging palette of sounds

Aigars Reinis, Walcker organ (1884), Riga Cathedral, Latvia
Skani 149  [58:49; 58:17]
★★★★★

A full CD recording of Latvia’s greatest organist and improviser is long overdue. Alfrēds Kalniņš, also the founder of Latvian National Opera, spent many productive years working in the USA before returning to preside over the remarkable Walcker organ of Riga Cathedral from 1933. Aigars Reinis is the current organist of Riga Cathedral and draws a wide-ranging palette of sounds from one of the best-preserved examples of German Romantic organ building. The most significant works here are two sets of variations, one on a theme by Kalniņš's son and another, on a theme by Jāzeps Vītols, was a form of protest against the Soviet regime and to be the composer’s last organ composition. There is much to enjoy across the two hours of music extremely well captured on this recording.

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