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Victoria BORISOVA-OLLAS (b. 1969)

Adoration of the Magi in the Snow [11'04]
Sergej DMITRIEV (b. 1964)

Reminiscences of the Future [9'02]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)

Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen Zagen [15'44]
William BYRD (1543-1623)

The Firste Pavan and Galliarde [4'24]
Fantasia in a BK 13 [1'33]
J.S. BACH (1685-1750)/Antonio VIVALDI (c. 1675-1741)

Concerto in a BWV 593: Allegro [3'53]; Adagio [3'25]; Allegro [3'53]
Wir glauben all'an einen Gott BWV 740 [4'43]
'Dorian' Toccata and Fugue in d BWV 538: Toccata [5'15]; Fugue [6'58]
Bengt Tribukait, organs
Rec Orgryte Nya Kyrka, Goteborg, 28/29 May, 20 August 2003. DDD

The New Church of the district of Orgryte in the pretty Swedish city of Gothenburg has in the last five years become a mecca for organists. Not only does the church house the now famous North German Baroque Organ, the result of a multi-disciplinary, multi-million pound project between Gothenburg University's Organ Art Centre, and Chalmers Institute of Technology, but also the unaltered 1871 Father Willis built for St Stephen's Hampstead. This CD presents these organs in an astonishingly original manner.

Bengt Tribukait is a new name to me. Born in 1964, he studied with perhaps the two leading Swedish organists of their generation, Torvald Toren and Hans Fagius, as well as with David Sanger in England. His specialisation in contemporary music is reflected in the fact that the contemporary music on this CD is the most successful material. Victoria Borisova's free fantasia depicting Bruegel's 'Adoration of the Magi in the Snow' is a very attractive piece; highly atmospheric and mostly tonal. This could find some popularity I think. The work by Sergei Dmitriev was too static to maintain my interest. These together with a slightly breathless (at 15'44, one of the quickest performances on record), performance of Liszt's famous Variations on 'Weinen, Klagen' are performed on the Willis. And doesn't it just love this music? With all the furore about the new organ, it is easy to forget the sublime quality of this instrument. The loss of so many of Father Willis's instruments in the UK, often the result of misguided rebuilds by the original builder's grandson is to be regretted. This is among the finest organ building Europe produced at the time.

The contrast between Liszt on the Willis and Byrd on the North German organ couldn't be more pronounced. Apart of the obvious aesthetic differences, the new instrument is tuned in 1/4 comma meantone! Tribukait's fluent and often refined playing is highly impressive on both instruments, but when playing the new organ, I tired of his fidgety approach to registration; no fewer than four registrations in the Byrd Fantasia, and even three in the Bach fugue, starting on an 8' basis and ending with the 16' plenum. If ever Bach wrote a plenum fugue, surely this is it. Tribukait's lack of monumentality in his approach here, the tempo is also rather quick, is a shame.

The literature chosen for the North German organ is in itself a little peculiar. Byrd is of course 'meantone music', but he never dreamt of an organ like this one. More troubling however is the Bach which quite frequently goes outwith the bounds of the temperament, leading to some excruciating moments. Tribukait's argument that mean-tone organs were 'prevalent' in Bach's time doesn't add up, 1/6 comma meantone, the temperament used by Gottfried Silbermann, was more prevalent in Bach's area, and even this he complained about!

A slightly eccentric disc then, but in general very well played, the organs are gorgeous, and the presentation is first rate with some great photography and full registration details - excepting some printing errors. A small factual error also creeps into the notes; the Willis organ isn't the only three manual example of his work outside the UK, a further three manual instrument can be found in a private residence in the Netherlands. Incidentally, all are live performances except the Liszt. Highly recommended.

Chris Bragg



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