by | Sep 11, 2016 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Organism” – TRYGVE MADSEN, KJELL MØRK KARLSEN, and KJELL FLEM  – Terje Winge, organ – 2L Pure Audio Blu-ray 2L-123-SABD + multichannel SACD, DTS-HD MA 192kHz/24 bit 5.1, DTS-HD MA 96kHz/24 bit 7.1, PCM 192kHz/24 bit stereo, Dolby Atmos, 9.1 Auro 3D, mShuttle: stereo MQA 96kHz + MP3 (8/25/16) (1:09:17)  [Dist. by Naxos] ****:

Excellent contemporary organ music in a variety of listening formats, both hi and low-res.

The organ music on this album is written by three composers with different musical backgrounds, who give us excellent contemporary music for organ.

Trygve Madsen studied with organist-composer Egil Hovland, one of the 20th century’s most significant pioneers in the field of church music. Kjell Mørk Karlsen grew up in a rich church music milieu, inspired by his father, Rolf Karlsen, who was Oslo cathedral organist for over fifteen years. Kjell Flem studied piano and organ, gaining a close knowledge of the organ’s technical and musical possibilities.

Included on the disc are:

1 Kjell Mark Karlsen: Sonata “De profundis”, Op. 142 (21:13)

2 Trygve Madsen: Le Tombeau de Dupré, Op. 62 (22:30)

3 Kjell Flem: Ecclesia in mundo (25:35)

As is always the case with 2L, this is a beautiful recording. It arrives in a variety of playable formats, including a Pure Music Blu-ray 5.1 channel mix. It also includes a 2.0 high resolution program. In addiiton, the disc overs Dolby Atmos, designed for overhead or ‘height speakers’, and a 9.1 Auro 3D mix, another format requiring overhead speakers. I’m not equipped for those new formats, so I listened to the Blu-ray disc in 5.1.I also listened to the Auro-3D mix, as it decodes to 7.1 channels, and my home theater system could play that recording back. A second disc is a hybrid SACD disc with a 5.1 DSD and 2.0 DSD mix. In addition, the package includes downloadable MP3 versions of the files, as well as high resolution files in the new MQA format, which 2L has embraced. The disc is region free.

The organist on this disc is Terje Winge, born in 1950,  Winge is Professor of Organ at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he has taught since the early 1980s. He received his own organ education from the Norwegian organists Ludvig Nielsen and Arild Sandvold, before studying with Jiri Reinberger in Prague and Gaston Litaize in Paris.

These are superb performances of these contemporary organ works. I would say the most affecting work on the disc is the Ecclesia in mundo , which is a deeply religious or spiritual work and it was lovely, but all three composers have produced notable compositions.

The organ used is at the Ålesund Church, Norway, and the sound is stunning, with deep prodigious bass and shimmering highs. The organ is one of the largest in Norway, with 94 registers, 5 manuals and nearly 8,000 pipes.

The recording captures the organ with width and depth in the front channels, while the rear channels give the listener a taste of the marvelous acoustics of the church. My subwoofer was busy during playback, and the bass never sounded muddy or distorted.

If you like organ music, but want to try something contemporary in a first-rate recording, then look no further. These are interesting compositions well played and wonderfully recorded. [Amazon so far only has an MP3 download…Ed.]

—Mel Martin


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