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Nicolas de GRIGNY (1672-1703)
Veni Creator [14'19]
J.S. BACH (1685-1750)

Fantasia in c BWV 562 [3'44]
Nicolas de GRIGNY

Pange Lingua

J.S. BACH

An Wasserflussen Babylon BWV 653 [5'11]
Nicolas de GRIGNY

Verbum Supernum [8'37]
J.S. BACH

Fugue in G BWV 577 [3'14]
Nicolas de GRIGNY

Ave Maris Stella [9'41]
J.S. BACH

Pièce d'Orgue BWV 572 [7'54]
Nicolas de GRIGNY

A Solis Hortus [8'32]
Terje Winge (organ)
rec. 11-14 October 2002, Al Kirke, Hallingdal, Norway DDD
SIMAX CLASSICS PSC 1242 [69'45]


This recording places an interesting new instrument in the spotlight. The small Swedish firm of Kallif and Lothmann completed their organ for the Hallingdal church in 1996. Conceptually it is unique in Norway as it is based mainly on French Classical models. Overall I'm convinced that this is an instrument of genuine artistic quality. The reeds for example are excellent, (with the possible exception of the pedal Bombarde), so rare in modern organ building, and so hard to pull off in this style. A glance at the stop-list poses some questions: two fournitures (III and V at 1' and 2' pitch on Postif and Grand Orgue respectively) but no cymbales. Is the Fourniture/Cymbale relationship represented by the relationship between the mixtures of the separate manuals? Also I'm not convinced that in this context borrowing the Grand Orgue Trompette onto the pedal is the best solution for the pedal 8' reed which, when used without the coupler, seems rather under-powered against the plein jeux. And surely a more adventurous temperament could have been chosen? Moreover though, while I remain a die-hard advocate of concept-led organ building, I'm not convinced that a smallish Norwegian church is necessarily the best place to build a French Classical style organ. The room is simply too intimate. The role of the aural effect of the buildings the original instruments were played in their cannot, in my opinion, be under-estimated. Perhaps the question should be posed the other way round: presumably there is little in Norwegian liturgy which is especially well served by such an instrument. Or perhaps I'm wrong?

The programme on the present disc is an interesting combination of works by Bach and by the French organist-composer whom Bach admired most, Nicolas de Grigny; the latter's five Plainsong-based hymns from the famous Livre d'Orgue of 1699. Terje Winge, a Norwegian former student of Gaston Litaize plays exceptionally neatly, every ornament perfectly executed. In general though I found the playing a little wooden with very little flexibilty in the tactus. Curiously his Bach suffers, for my taste, in rather the same way. Pièce d'Orgue for instance is rather quick and run-of-the-mill - played on the plenum but without pedal reed! A curiously over-long first pedal note of the Grave section startled me also.

A worthwhile release this in order to hear a genuinely interesting piece of modern organ building. However for my money it is let down by some rather identity-less playing.

Chris Bragg

 

 


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