Of Another Time
Cyril JENKINS (1885-1978) Dawn [4:40]; Night [5:01]; Marcel PAPANAUD (1893-1988) Toccata [4:35]; Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Fantaisie in E flat [6:07]; Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Colonial Song [6:44]; Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Ave Maria von Arcadelt [6:31]; Joseph BONNET (1884-1944) Elfes (Douze Pièces Nouvelles Op. 7/11) [4:19]; Guy WEITZ (1883-1970) Grand Choeur (Voluntary on Benedicamus Domino) [4:15]; Albert KETÈLBEY (1875-1959) In a Monastery Garden [6:15]; Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Première Arabesque [5:20]; Alexander GUILMANT (1837-1911) Morceau de Concert Op. 24 [16:20]
Yun Kyong Kim (organ)
rec. 23-24 November 2009, Austin Organ of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Dayton, Ohio
MSR CLASSICS MS1362 [70:14]

The organ in St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dayton was given the number “Opus 890” in the Austin Organ Company’s list when it was installed in 1920. The very informative booklet describes the very poor state into which it was allowed to get and the extensive renovation undertaken in 1996. What we hear on this disc is a superb instrument, with the kind of full rich variety of cantabile tone that was expected at the time of its installation, an approach very different to instruments of the French or neo-classical schools. The sheer beauty of sound as recorded here is remarkable. Better still, Yun Kyong Kim, who is organist at Christ Episcopal Church in Dayton, has chosen a programme ideally suited to the organ, even if few of the works date precisely from the same period as the instrument.

The disc begins and ends with music by Cyril Jenkins whom I had known previously only for his brass band music. Both demonstrate the note by the recording’s producer, Michael Hughes, that the dynamics have not been compressed. Fine when listening through headphones but be warned that if the start of Dawn is set so as to be clearly audible the neighbours will be very aware of its conclusion. Even if neither piece is of great musical value they are splendid demonstrations of the nature and quality of the instrument and of its recording. There is music of more substance here – the items by Saint-Saëns, Liszt and – possibly – Guilmant would be worth hearing anywhere, and a series of attractive miniatures including the organist’s own transcription of Grainger’s Colonial Song and a brightly played Toccata by Marcel Paponaud. In fact I enjoyed the programme as a whole, not least for being clearly devised for consecutive listening and for including such a delectable mixture.

Organ recitals of all types can be found in the catalogues. Too many include all too familiar potboilers regardless of the suitability or otherwise of the instrument. It is good to encounter a disc with a programme which has been so lovingly compiled and played, excellently recorded and presented with notes and photographs helpful and interesting to the listener. Perhaps neither the organ, the player nor the programme are likely to be well known to the wider musical public, but on the basis of this disc they certainly deserve to be.

John Sheppard

A programme lovingly compiled and played, excellently recorded.