Stockholm Concert Hall Organ – Twentieth Century Swedish Organ Music – Erik Lundkvist, organ – Proprius

by | Nov 1, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Stockholm Concert Hall Organ – Twentieth Century Swedish Organ Music – Erik Lundkvist, organ – Proprius PRSACD 2028 Multichannel SACD (Distr. by May Audio), 71 min. *****:

This most recent release from Proprius follows a longstanding tradition of powerhouse organ recordings from the label, but also represents a certain point of departure as well. Always known for their very natural-sounding and minimalist audiophile recordings, Proprius has of late taken the bold step of reissuing older catalog recordings in 4.0 surround sound, and their efforts with recreation of the ambient information in the surround channels has been superb thus far. This new disc takes their willingness to “play about” with the acoustics a step further – apparently, the reverberation of Stockholm’s Concert Hall was too short to use for effectively recording the hall’s impressive pipe organ. Proprius took the effort to recreate and lengthen the reverberation, to make for a more natural recording. The results are, to say the least, impressive – this is an organ disc for the ages.

I still find it rather curious that the multichannel SACD disc was released in 4.0 surround – of course, for those who choose to listen in stereo, this is a moot point. But wouldn’t it make a great deal of sense to offer an organ recording in surround with a subwoofer option? [That’s what another Swedish label, Opus 3, did with their pipe organ SACD…Ed.]  I realize that those out there with full range speakers capable of output in the 20 hz range would probably have no issues with this disc, but for most of us this would seem to present a problem. My own system is set up for a mix of home theater use and strict audio listening (its main use), including multichannel audio sources and includes a subwoofer. But my system is set up such that, I still have the need for a cheesy Radio Shack switch box in the loop to get a subwoofer feed on sources that don’t offer an LFE channel. My system has fairly good capabilities without the sub, but on material as bass-heavy and demanding as this, inclusion of the sub made all the difference in the world. It transformed a wall-shaking experience into one that shook the walls, floor and ceiling.

The selections are all superb, and range in tone from tranquil to nearly mind-blowing. I particularly enjoyed Sodersten’s Requiem for Organ – even minus the chorus, it was a truly moving experience. Very highly recommended.

— Tom Gibbs


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