Chapel, Boston = BRUHMNS: Praeludium in E; BACH: Sonata in C BWV 529,
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor “Dorian;” PINKHAM: A Flourish, a Vision
and a Commandment; MADSEN: Three Chorale Preludes; LAUKVIK: Suite;
MOZART: Andante KV616 – Arsis Audio Multichannel SACD 402, 68:50
This is one of those many pipe organ albums in which the instrument
itself is the star, but it is enhanced on several levels that raise it
above the norm for organ fans. It is recorded in excellent 5.0 channel
surround, the organ is located in a historic Unitarian church that
dates back to pre-Revolutionary days, it was installed in 1964 but has
been updated several times to reach a high level of perfection, the
Danish organist has performed around the world and on a series of radio
programs, and the program features a work composed especially for the
recording by Daniel Pinkham.
Composer Pinkham is music director of King’s Chapel and discusses the
dry but clear acoustics of the building in the note booklet. It was
partly through his efforts that the organ he inherited in the building
was eventually replaced by the much better-sounding Fisk organ. The
instrument’s specifications are given in detail in the booklet.
Pinkham’s composition for the disc celebrates the 40th
anniversary of the pipe organ, which is the first three-manual tracker
action organ built in the U.S. in the 20th century. It is suitable for
both works of the Baroque period and contemporary scores. A fanfare for
the pedals alone is the unusual first section of his seven-minute
work. The opening work by 17th century composer Nikolaus Bruhns
is an energetic delight that gets proceedings off to a rousing start.
The suite from Norwegian composer Jon Laukvik mixes elements from
French Baroque organ literature with some hints of jazz.
While there is not the usual extended reverberation one often hears in
organ recordings, there is a definite impression of the chapel
environment, and the clarity of the various stops – aided by the
transparent DSD sonics – comes thru without the muddying often heard
with pipe organ recordings. The pedal frequencies are also strong and
precise in their pitches.
– John Sunier