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.