“Illuminations” = Organ works by KING, WIDOR, EBEN, BACH, MESSIAEN & REBUKE [TrackList follows] – SharonRose Pfeiffer, organ, at the E.M Skinner Organ – Gloria dei Artes

by | Apr 18, 2014 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“Illuminations” = Organ works by KING, WIDOR, EBEN, BACH, MESSIAEN & REBUKE [TrackList follows] – SharonRose Pfeiffer, organ, at the E.M Skinner Organ – Gloria dei Artes multichannel SACD GDCD 059, 70:32 (1/14/14) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

The E.M. Skinner organ in the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA, has been built so that the pipes run down the main aisles of the church, creating a magnificent surround sound effect for listeners. It gives a sense of the building singing as the voices come from different divisions which span the length of the church. This is the only pipe organ in the world with this design, so it makes it a natural for 5.0 hi-res surround sound reproduction, which is spectacular and often breathtaking.

Larry King was a brilliant organist and composer who was for many years director of music at Trinity Church in Wall Street, NY.  He begins his Lament, The Rising, The Ecstasy, Reflection with Gregorian chant and a sense of mourning. “Reflection” combines rejoicing on Easter Day with Allelulias from an earlier section of the work. The opening movement from the Sixth of the ten organ symphonies by Widor illustrates the multi-faceted orchestral sounds of the French Organ School, which established the organ as an important instrument again.

The selection by Petr Eben is from his eight-movement-with-narrator work, Job for Organ, a programmatic work illuminating the biblical book of Job. It reflects the inner knowledge of God’s purifying fire in the heart. The Bach Chorale Prelude selected has grandeur and exuberance. Messiaen’s “Sortie” is the final movement of his Messe de la Pentecote, and fills the church with lightning sound and dramatic impact. And the Rebuke 94th Psalm which closes the disc, was written when the composer was only 19, and was inspired by Liszt’s tone poems and Berlioz’s symphonies. It presents the idea of the Psalm as program music and is considered a pinnacle work in all of organ literature.

Organist and harpsichordist SharonRose Pfeiffer has played thruout the U.S. and France, and has recorded works of Messiaen and Bach. Few of Gloria die Artes’ discs are SACDs, and it is very easy to see why this one was decided for that format.

TrackList:  Resurrection: Lament, The Rising, The Ecstasy, Reflection by Larry King; Sonate der 94ste Psalm by Julius Reubke; Job for Organ, 6. Penitence and Realization by Petr Eben; Symphonie VI Op. 42: 1. Allegro by Charles-Marie Widor; Fantasia Super “Komm Heiliger Geist” BWV 651 by J.S. Bach; and Messe de la Pentecote: V. Sortie (Le vent d’Esprit) by Olivier Messiaen.

—John Sunier

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