Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet

The Organ in the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling
Alexandre Guilmant (1837–1911)
Grand Choeur in D (alla Handel) Op. 18/1 [7:13]
Maurice Durufle (1902–1986)
Méditation pour orgue (1966/2001) [4:08]
Charles-Marie Widor (1844–1937)
Symphony No. 4, Op. 13 [27:31]
Feike Asma (1912–1984)
Fantasie over de Avondzang “‘k wil U o God mijn dank betalen”
[7:35]
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924)
Hymn prelude: St Columba Op. 101 [2:28]
Robin Milford (1903–1959)
Hymn prelude: St Columba Op.14 (1928) [2:51]
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848–1918)
Hymn prelude: Croft’s 136th [3:43]
Alec Rowley (1892–1958)
Benedictus
(1931) [4:11]
Edward Elgar (1857–1934)
Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1 in D Op. 39/1 [6:55]
Cor Kee (1900–1997)
Variations on a Dutch song Merck toch hoe sterck [11:51]
John Kitchen (Rushworth & Dreaper organ)
rec. Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, Scotland, 31 October-1 November 2007. DDD.
DELPHIAN DCD34064 [78.32] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


John Kitchen has made a number of well-liked recordings for the Delphian label, as accompanist and as solo performer.  My colleagues praised the first volume of his programme, Instruments from the Russell Collection (DCD34001 – see review) and the second (DCD34039 – see review).  The music on those earlier recordings was designed principally to show off the instruments; while this very well filled new CD also serves the same purpose for the Stirling organ, its musical content is much more substantial. 

The Rushworth and Dreaper organ at the Church of the Holy Rude is a massive beast, reportedly the largest in Scotland.  Its history is outlined by Andrew Caskie in the booklet and a full specification is given, though the registration for each individual piece is not listed.  Together with John Kitchen’s own notes on the music and some excellent colour photographs – including that on the CD cover – this makes for an attractive and informative booklet.  For all its size, the organ does apparently have an Achilles’ heel – the inadequate cornet combination had to be replaced in performing the Asma piece by the French horn. 

The wide range of music puts the instrument and its player through their paces, a test from which both emerge with flying colours.  The Guilmant Grand Chœur ‘in the manner of Handel’ makes an excellent extrovert introduction to the recording – though not especially Handelian – and the following Duruflé Méditation (as thoughtful a piece as its name implies, derived from the Agnus Dei of the Messe ‘Cum jubilo’) is an excellent foil.  If you don’t yet know Duruflé’s Fauré-inspired Requiem and his other Masses and choral works, you should make their acquaintance as soon as possible. Duruflé’s own recording of the Requiem, Messe ‘Cum jubilo’, etc., is a fantastic bargain on super-budget Warner Apex 256461139 2.  Its mid-price predecessor has been my version of choice for a long time.

The Widor Symphony No.4 is not the Symphony with the famous Toccata – it’s less overtly appealing but it certainly has its compensations: the Andante cantabile (track 5) is especially attractive.  I don’t suppose that anyone is likely to buy this CD for the sake of the Widor or the other French works but if, as I expect, most purchasers will obtain it as a memento or because they have some connection with the church or the organ, they will receive good performances of all these pieces into the bargain.  Those who insist that the likes of Widor must be played on a Cavaillé-Col organ will be very pleasantly surprised to discover how idiomatic the Stirling instrument can be made to sound.  It would have been instructive if the notes had given the registration employed to achieve this effect. 

The other music on the CD will be less well known.  I hadn’t come across Feike Asma but his fantasy on the evening hymn ‘k wil U o God mijn dank betalen (I offer you my thanks, O God) is attractive, as is the music by the other Dutch composer, Cor Kee, variations on the song Merck toch hoe sterck (Just see how strong they are) which ends the CD.  Asma works the hymn tune very subtly into the music, commencing with another tune altogether and only gradually introducing the main theme; sadly, of course, this effect is somewhat lost on those – myself included – not well acquainted with Dutch hymn tunes: listen for something that sounds similar to O God, our help in ages past.  It’s a reflective piece rising to a climax, the sort of music that would make an effective prelude or postlude to Evensong, and deserves to be better known. 

I hadn’t come across Cor Kee, either, though, of course, I had heard his son Piet Kee, the organist.  As Kitchen notes in the booklet, Merck toch is an extremely inventive piece, based on a song about the valiant Dutch struggle against their Spanish overlords, and its final climax makes a splendid conclusion to the CD. 

The three hymn preludes by Stanford, Milford and Parry and the Rowley Benedictus are smaller beer but well worth hearing and well played.  The transcription of Elgar’s first Pomp and Circumstance march is something of a sore thumb in this company, the opening Guilmant piece and the Widor having already very effectively demonstrated the sound of the full organ. 

The recording is excellent throughout and the notes in the booklet are most informative.  The information about the less familiar pieces is especially valuable – that on Feike Asma, for example, partly helps to atone for the listener’s lack of familiarity with the tune on which the fantasia is based. 

One small problem: there are actually 15 tracks on the CD, not 13 as reported on the insert and in the booklet.  The Feike Asma Fantasia is track 9, not 7 as stated, and for every track thereafter two needs to be added to the number given.  Otherwise, you may wonder why Asma’s music sounds so much like Widor’s or where the familiar hymn tune St Columba comes into the Stanford and Milford preludes!  This is the kind of mistake more usually associated with bargain-basement recordings than with a distinguished independent like Delphian and I hope they will put it right.  The text displayed when the CD is playing gets its right. 

No jokes, please, about the Scots spelling rude for rood, derived from the Old English word ród for ‘cross’, as in the poem The Dream of the Rood

Rod wæs ic aræred.  Ahof ic ricne Cyning
heofena Hlaford ...
... Weop eal gesceaft
cwiðdon Cyninges feall.  Crist wæs on rode.

[I was raised up as a cross.  I bore up the mighty King, Lord of the Heavens ... all creation wept, told of the fall of the King.  Christ was on the cross.] 

Delphian are becoming a real force to be reckoned with.  Their recent 2-CD set of Messiaen’s organ music is a splendid bargain (Michael Bonaventure on DCD3406, 2 CDs for the price of 1) as well as a fine performance – see review.  Mention of Messiaen reminds me that Jennifer Bate’s authoritative performances of his music are available absurdly cheaply from Regis – see review – and, with their original Unicorn covers, as very inexpensive downloads from The Classical Shop.

Brian Wilson

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.