Great European Organs, No.51

Author: 
Marc Rochester

Great European Organs, No.51

  • Pastorale
  • Chorales, Vater unser im Himmelreich, WK ii 138
  • Prelude, Fugue and Chaconne
  • Homage to Dietrich Buxtehude
  • Triptico del Buen Pastor
  • Orpheus
  • Fantaisie

This seems rather a peculiar programme with a focus on Buxtehude and the North German baroque and with a few other disparate pieces thrown in to spice up the menu. Peculiar or not, it works superbly. The new Bath Abbey instrument is adorable – a complete rejection of the argument often propounded that, on purely musical terms, an organ built outside the British Isles is inappropriate for a major English ecclesiastical building – and it makes everything here sound convincing and impressive. This sumptuous instrument is well served by a beautifully proportioned recording.
For those interested in the music rather than the instrument, Peter King’s performances range from the solid (Buxtehude’s Praeludium in G minor) to the near-inspired (Bach’s Pastorale). Eben’s Homage is based on material from the two Buxtehude pieces on the disc and uses Buxtehudian structures and figurations in a typically astute Eben manner. The inclusion of the Liszt and Saint-Saens is obviously inspired by King’s deep fondness for these pieces – it shows in every bar of these lovingly nurtured performances – while the Guridi has moments which allow us to hear the organ’s more atmospheric qualities.
Personally I would not be immediately attracted to this disc by the music, but for the sheer pleasure of hearing a truly wonderful, modern instrument, I cannot recommend this release too highly.'

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