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The Five Organ Recordings You Couldn't Live Without.


James Goldrick
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1. Poulenc Organ Concerto - Ian Tracey/BBCPO/Tortelier at Liverpool Cathedral (Chandos)

Sheer beauty of sound and a very successful outcome to a significant recording challenge IMHO.

 

2. 'Weihnachtliche Orgelmusik' - by Paul Wisskirchen at Altenberger Dom (EMI reissued Prezioso)

I bought this on eBay for 50p and is a stunning recording of the 1980 Klais. Not technically perfect, but played with a real sense of the spirit of the music and some very interesting tone colours.

 

3. Widor Symphony 8 and Cochereau Variations sur un Noel - Jeremy Filsell at Liverpool RC (ASV)

Wonderful sound, real flair in the playing.

 

4. Complete Messiaen on 6 discs - Olivier Latry at Notre Dame de Paris (DG)

Not all the music to everyone's taste, mine included, but the conviction and seemingly effortless playing makes this very rewarding to listen to.

 

5. 'Popular Organ Music 2' - David Briggs at Gloucester (Priory)

Yes, I know - Popular Organ Music... but as a collection it's very interesting on many different levels, particularly the Cochereau Bolero and the Dukas Sorcerer's Apprentice. Plus I like the Gloucester organ :P And need I talk abour DB's playing?

 

I'ver just acquired a copy of 'Les Offices du Dimanche', a Solstice disc of Cochereau improvising at Notre Dame. This may, with time, nudge one of the others off the list. Too soon to tell. There's also the Jennifer Bate recordings of Franck at Beauvais (Unicorn Kanchana, reissued by Regis) which I find very compelling if not particularly purist. I can't warm to the Messiaen recordings at Beauvais so much, though.

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No. I was obviously wrong. I'm sure there was some recording where the orchestra was in a studio and the organ was elsewhere, but I agree this isn't it. A Saint-Saëns 3 perhaps?

 

This sounds like the two Deutsche Grammophon recordings of the Saint-Saens 3. They both had the orchestra and organ parts recorded separately.

(1) Herbert von Karajan/BPO with Pierre Cochereau at Notre Dame

(2) Daniel Barenboim/CSO with Gaston Litaize at Chartres

 

Cheers

 

JG

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No. I was obviously wrong. I'm sure there was some recording where the orchestra was in a studio and the organ was elsewhere, but I agree this isn't it. A Saint-Saëns 3 perhaps?

 

Yes - with Gaston Litaize playing the Danion-Gonzalez organ of Chartres Cathedral, the orchestral parts being provided by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

 

CD: Deutsche Grammophon 415 847-2

 

(1976.)

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Dame GW also did something similar I seem to remember. In an Edinburgh Festval concert where the orchestra was in the Usher Hall (organ out of action then) and she was at St Mary's Cathedral. Didn't she have a police escort to get back for her standing ovation?

 

AJJ

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For me, after much pruning;

Olivier Latry- Complete Durufle

James Lancelot- Complete Parry

David Briggs - Reubke at First Congregational Church LA,

Hans Fagius Complete Bach Set

David Goode-

French Showpeices from Kings

 

Of course that means leaving out Gillian Wier's Hexham and Messaien Discs, James Lancelot's Vierne V, John Scotts Dupre Discs (and Durufle) and many many others. Thank heavens Newcastle is not a desert island (no "Its grim up North jokes please!")

 

Charles

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Dame GW also did something similar I seem to remember. In an Edinburgh Festval concert where the orchestra was in the Usher Hall (organ out of action then) and she was at St Mary's Cathedral. Didn't she have a police escort to get back for her standing ovation?

 

AJJ

 

Yes indeed. I remember that concert as well; it was televised.

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I used not to buy CDs of improvisation but recently I have changed this pattern - mainly due to the number that can be listened to over and over again. This is good (in the Briggs/Cochereau style) as are Nigel Allcoat's various improvisation CDs (in the Allcoat style) on the Cantoris label.

 

AJJ

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  • 2 weeks later...
I'd definitely take TT's Messe de la Pentecote (although I have heard that TT himself is not a huge fan of Messiaen).

 

Am in complete agreement with you on this: Trotter is certainly one of the world's foremost Messiaen interpreters for organ. Dame Gillian, to my taste, does not quite manage to make as much of the music, and sounds almost rushed by comparison (particularly in that exquisite Communion movement).

 

I find it hard to believe that Trotter is not himself a fan of Messiaen, though, having recorded the disc in question, Les Corps glorieux (I forget where) and programming his music fairly regularly in recitals. Having said that, I don't know how willing he would be to do a complete Messiaen recording, which I would love!

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Ok my five are (two with orchestra)

 

1. Symphonie Concertante by Joseph Jongen: Micheal Murray at the Ruffatti Organ in the Louise M Davies Symphoniy Hall, San Francisco USA

 

Quite the most exciting organ and orchestra recording ever!

 

2. English Romantic Organ Music: Graham Barber at the Truro Cathedral.

 

Wonderful music, expertly played on one of the finest organs in the country

 

3. Guilmant (symphonie No.2) & Widor (symphonie No.3) works for organ and orchestra: Ian Tracey and Jan Pascal Torteiler BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

 

A huge sound in a huge space - remarkable!

 

4. J.S. Bach as played by Michael Murray @ the Beckerath organ (1965) of St Andreas-Kriche, Hildesheim.

 

Wonderfully disiplined Bach playing and a wonderful organ on which you can hear every single note - wherever it is in the chord!

 

5. An old recording of the organ in the Victoria Hall, Geneva - I have never heard a sound like it - before or since!

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5. An old recording of the organ in the Victoria Hall, Geneva - I have never heard a sound like it - before or since!

 

Was this by any chance played by Jeanne Demessieux? If so, then it is the recording which at a young age introduced me to the Widor Gothique, and I am very attached to it. I think the other work was the Liszt BACH.

 

JJK

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Was this by any chance played by Jeanne Demessieux? If so, then it is the recording which at a young age introduced me to the Widor Gothique, and I am very attached to it.

JJK

 

 

You're absolutely right - I was racking my brains to remember the performer. Both the performance and the sound had a big impact on a nipper like me who had only ever heard the local 4 rank extension organ down the road!

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Not in order of preference - as they really all are the top five...

Here goes:

 

Improvisation on German and Polish Folktunes by Tomasz Nowak at Lambertikirche, Münster

Stunning (CD: Polnische Orgel musik aus fünf jahrhunderten in St Lamberti, Münster. Musicom)

http://www.st-lamberti.de

 

Symphonie en Improvisation (22 June 2003) David Briggs at Blackburn Cathedral (CD: Sounds French. Lammas)

 

Sortie grandes orgues (improvisation) Pierre Cochereau recorded ND Paris in 1976 (CD: Les Offices du Dimanche a Notre-Dame de Paris. Solstice)

 

Handel/Guillou: Allegro from Organ Concerto in D minor, Op 7. Jean Guillou playing the Kleuker at Alpe d'Huez. (CD: Organ Encores. Dorian)

 

Dupré: Le Chemin de la Croix. Yves Castagnet at Notre-Dame, Paris (CD: Yves Castagnet joue Marcel Dupré au grand orgue de Notre-Dame de Paris. Intrada)

 

The last one has knocked John Scott's Dupré recordings from St Paul's down a notch, although I still play them a lot, especially as the first of the two recordings got me hooked on Dupré's music at quite an early age!

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I bought a CD in Paris 6 years ago of some badly recorded improvisations by Yves Devernay. His sense of pulse is erratic but the improvs are just amazing. You need big speakers though.

 

It sounds as if this is the disc of which I also possess a copy. However, I do not think that they were that badly recorded. There are some interesting fluctuations in the pulse of one or two - for example, the Mozart-esque communion piece. There are times when Devernay sounds more like Cochereau than anyone else (except, perhaps, Pincemaille). However, in my view, they are still outshone by most of the recorded improvisations of Pierre Cochereau.

 

As far as I know, the recording apparatus used was that which François Carbou used to record Cochereau each Sunday.

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Does anyone recall an old (possibly from the EMI Gt Cathedral series) recording of Ripon and Canterbury (inter alia): Perrin & Wicks, respectivley? Allan W was playing the Peeters Concerstuck - fantastic, but I can't remember which piece of Karg-Elert the late-lamented 'legend in his own lunchtime' Ron P played. I'd love to be reminded of it and to find out whether this old vinyl has been remastered/digitised; it's not on the amphion re-releases as far as I know.

Many thanks

 

F4ever

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Does anyone recall an old (possibly from the EMI Gt Cathedral series) recording of Ripon and Canterbury (inter alia): Perrin & Wicks, respectivley? Allan W was playing the Peeters Concerstuck - fantastic, but I can't remember which piece of Karg-Elert the late-lamented 'legend in his own lunchtime' Ron P played. I'd love to be reminded of it and to find out whether this old vinyl has been remastered/digitised; it's not on the amphion re-releases as far as I know.

Many thanks

 

F4ever

 

I think I have that one on tape somewhere. I'll have a hunt. Ron was one of my first teachers - him and Bob Marsh on the Ripon organ.

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Hello ;

 

there is so much good recordings that this is a tricky question. Excluding the few concerts recordings I have from friends, which can't be choosen here, I think my choice would be :

- The four first discs of Louis Robilliard (edited by Festivo)

- The Liszt "Via Crucis" and "Weinen Klagen", by Vincent Genvrin in Riga Dom (edited by Hortus)

 

But how sad would it be to loose all the other ones !

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  • 1 month later...

There are so many good recordings (sigh) - but -

 

Two that I couldn't live without on my desert island and that haven't already been listed would be:

 

1. Thomas Heywood: Who needs an orchestra. Deservedly an Editor's Choice some while back in OR, this guy is transcribing and recording the complete Beethoven symphonies. I can't believe noone's ever done it before, but WNAO takes transcription to a new level wth Beethoven V. Unmissable.

 

2. Michael Dudman: Sydney Opera House. One of the first recordings I ever had, and so far as I know only on cassette, which is a shame as I've played it over again to the point of destruction. I remember it, not just because of the brilliant execution of a diverse program, but in particular for the Bach Passagaglia. Just when you think you've come to the end of it, at the suspenseful Db major chord, off he goes on a journey of discovery with an extraordinary and flamboyant cadenza lasting easily a minute. You just think "where on earth did that come from". Definiately not something to include in a competition performance, but it might be nice to hear once in a while just to remind oneself of what an exceptional piece the Pasacaglia is and to stir you out of complacency. I gather that E Power Biggs made a recording inserting a cadenza at this point but I've never heard it and wonder whether it's the one Dudman used; anyway, whosever it is, I want to borrow it!

 

Contrabombarde

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There are so many good recordings (sigh) - but -

 

Two that I couldn't live without on my desert island and that haven't already been listed would be:

 

1. Thomas Heywood: Who needs an orchestra. Deservedly an Editor's Choice some while back in OR, this guy is transcribing and recording the complete Beethoven symphonies. I can't believe noone's ever done it before, but WNAO takes transcription to a new level wth Beethoven V. Unmissable.

 

2. Michael Dudman: Sydney Opera House. One of the first recordings I ever had, and so far as I know only on cassette, which is a shame as I've played it over again to the point of destruction. I remember it, not just because of the brilliant execution of a diverse program, but in particular for the Bach Passagaglia. Just when you think you've come to the end of it, at the suspenseful Db major chord, off he goes on a journey of discovery with an extraordinary and flamboyant cadenza lasting easily a minute. You just think "where on earth did that come from". Definiately not something to include in a competition performance, but it might be nice to hear once in a while just to remind oneself of what an exceptional piece the Pasacaglia is and to stir you out of complacency. I gather that E Power Biggs made a recording inserting a cadenza at this point but I've never heard it and wonder whether it's the one Dudman used; anyway, whosever it is, I want to borrow it!

 

Contrabombarde

 

The Dudman SOH recording has been transferred by the ABC Classics/Eloquence label.

I've never heard the E.Power Biggs cadenza, but I assume Dudman is improvising as he was a first-class improviser. I think it's the most exciting recording made on the Sydney Opera House organ.

They always have it in stock at the Opera House Gift shop.

It appears to be here too:

http://chaos.com/product/sydney_opera_hous...264_205396.html

 

 

I've been meaning to replace my lost copy of the Melbourne Sounds Grand - From memory every track is pretty wonderful - The Beethoven being an obvious highlight. The two Rossini transcriptions are spectacular too.

 

Have you heard Heywood's Humoresque for Pedal Trombone? It's on the Grand Organ Gala at St Joseph's Buffalo.

I think it's a remarkably ingenious bit of composition. A piece of fluff - but a delightful one.

 

JG

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The Dudman SOH recording has been transferred by the ABC Classics/Eloquence label.

I've never heard the E.Power Biggs cadenza, but I assume Dudman is improvising as he was a first-class improviser. I think it's the most exciting recording made on the Sydney Opera House organ.

They always have it in stock at the Opera House Gift shop.

It appears to be here too:

http://chaos.com/product/sydney_opera_hous...264_205396.html

I've been meaning to replace my lost copy of the Melbourne Sounds Grand - From memory every track is pretty wonderful - The Beethoven being an obvious highlight. The two Rossini transcriptions are spectacular too.

 

Have you heard Heywood's Humoresque for Pedal Trombone? It's on the Grand Organ Gala at St Joseph's Buffalo.

I think it's a remarkably ingenious bit of composition. A piece of fluff - but a delightful one.

 

JG

 

Thanks for the Organ Extravaganza link - I've ordered the CD and look forward to receiving it some time in the next few months. The program is almost the same as my tape with a couple of additions though piece lengths are somewhat different so I only hope, if Dudman re-recorded it, that he included the same stupendous cadenza. I've never heard anything like it elsewhere and at the risk of being barred from these fora I'd say JSB would have been proud of it!

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Does anyone recall an old (possibly from the EMI Gt Cathedral series) recording of Ripon and Canterbury (inter alia): Perrin & Wicks, respectivley? Allan W was playing the Peeters Concerstuck - fantastic, but I can't remember which piece of Karg-Elert the late-lamented 'legend in his own lunchtime' Ron P played. I'd love to be reminded of it and to find out whether this old vinyl has been remastered/digitised; it's not on the amphion re-releases as far as I know.

Many thanks

 

F4ever

 

Only just come across this and, since no one else appears to have supplied the information, you appear to be referring to VPS 1033 , a Vista LP issued by Michael Smythe in 1976. I am unaware of it being reissued as a CD, in fact as far as I know nothing recorded by Michael and issued on his own Vista label has enjoyed a life on CD - I would certainly like to have CD versions of Christopher Herrick's very first LP at St Paul's and of Peter Goodman at Hull City Hall, particularly the Cook Fanfare. To answer your specific question Ron's contribution to this LP was "Jerusalem du hochegebaute Stadt" from op 65. The other players were John Turner with a notable performance of the Willan, Richard Galloway, David Harrison and Arthur Wills showcasing his 1976 rebuild at Ely.

 

Brian Childs

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http://chaos.com/product/sydney_opera_hous...264_205396.html

I've been meaning to replace my lost copy of the Melbourne Sounds Grand - From memory every track is pretty wonderful - The Beethoven being an obvious highlight. The two Rossini transcriptions are spectacular too.

 

Have you heard Heywood's Humoresque for Pedal Trombone? It's on the Grand Organ Gala at St Joseph's Buffalo.

I think it's a remarkably ingenious bit of composition. A piece of fluff - but a delightful one.

 

JG

Thomas Heywood played the Trombone Humeresque at York minster a while ago, it was good, although it got lost in the acoustic a bit, as did Bach 542.

Have you seen Heywoods DVD of the opening recital of the Melbourne Town hall, its fantastic for showing the organs inards and the funny comentary

Peter

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Guest Barry Williams
Only just come across this and, since no one else appears to have supplied the information, you appear to be referring to VPS 1033 , a Vista LP issued by Michael Smythe in 1976. I am unaware of it being reissued as a CD, in fact as far as I know nothing recorded by Michael and issued on his own Vista label has enjoyed a life on CD - I would certainly like to have CD versions of Christopher Herrick's very first LP at St Paul's and of Peter Goodman at Hull City Hall, particularly the Cook Fanfare. To answer your specific question Ron's contribution to this LP was "Jerusalem du hochegebaute Stadt" from op 65. The other players were John Turner with a notable performance of the Willan, Richard Galloway, David Harrison and Arthur Wills showcasing his 1976 rebuild at Ely.

 

Brian Childs

 

It is a great pity that none of Michael Smythe's recordings have been re-issued. Perhaps one of those enterprising people who re-master old recordings would consider this as a project, though it may not be economically viable. Mr Smythe published the whole of Rheinbeger's Sonatas at a time when their popularity was less than nowadays. His other recordings often introduced something unusual in the repertoire.

 

Robert Munns recorded John Cook's Fanfare (originally written for four brass bands at the Hampton Court Pageant) at Huddersfield Town Hall in 1968, when he restored the position of the fanfares to their position in the original score, rather than as in the organ transcription. 'Fanfare' is a fine piece unjustly neglected.

 

Are there any recordings of the Rheinberger organ concertos available nowdays? I still have the vinyls of E Power Biggs' recordings.

 

Barry Williams

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