The Steinmeyer Organ in Nidaros Cathedral – Various composers [TrackList follows] – Magne Draagen, organ – LAWO Classics

by | Apr 22, 2015 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

The Steinmeyer Organ in Nidaros Cathedral (2014) – Various composers [TrackList follows] – Magne Draagen, organ – LAWO Classics multichannel SACD LWC1075, 1:19:48 (11/28/14) [Distr. by Allegro] *****:

Nidaros Cathedral’s Steinmeyer organ, completed in 1930 for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Stiklestad, is one of the largest cathedral organs in Europe. Over the years, the organ fell into serious disrepair, and this lovely SACD gives us this magnificent organ in high resolution surround sound after many years of repair.

Organist Magna Draagen opens the disc with a fine transcription of Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood” from the Peer Gynt Suite in a transcription by Harvey Gaul. From there, we are treated to lovely performances of works by composers like Duprè, Howells, Handel and Nielsen.

Organist Magne Draagen was born in 1974. He received his first organ lessons from Edvin Eriksen and Leidulv Grimsmo in Nordmøre. He studied organ with Terje Winge and Kåre Nordstoga at the Norwegian Academy of Music, from which he received a Bachelor’s in Church Music in 1997 and later a soloist diploma as organist. Draagen is former organist and choirmaster of Gamlebyen Church, Old Aker Church, and Holy Trinity Church in Oslo. From 2002-2012 he served as organist and choirmaster of Gamlebyen Church, Old Aker Church, and Holy Trinity Church in Oslo. From 2002-2012 he served as organist and choirmaster at Oslo Cathedral.

These are superb performances, and the Steinmeier Organ really sounds spectacular in this expansive cathedral. The 5.0 recording goes quite deep. The surround channels really make this recording what it is. In stereo everything folds forward and the effect of the church acoustics with it’s five-second reverb time are lost. It must have been quite a challenge for the engineers, but everything works. This is a very wide-imaged recording, with a solid 3D sound. The dynamic range is extremely wide, so your audio system will get a workout. If you can’t get to Norway to hear this wonderful instrument, this disc is the next best option.

TrackList:

Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907): “Morning Mood” from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 (trans. Harvey B Gaul) 

Marcel Dupré (1886 – 1971): “Placare Christe servulis” from Tombeau de Titelouze, Op. 38 

Herbert Howells (1892 – 1983): “Master Tallis testament” from Six pieces 

Charles-Marie Widor (1844 – 1937): “Marche nuptiale” from Conte d’Avril, Op. 64 

Max Reger (1873 – 1916): “Benedictus” from 12 Stücke, Op. 59 

Egil Hovland (1924 – 2013): Toccata on Chorale “Kjærlighet er lysets kilde” 

Théodore Dubois (1837 – 1924): “In Paradisum” from 12 Pièces Nouvelles 

Ludvig Nielsen (1906 – 2001): Organ-fantasy “Nidaros Cathedral’s Clock” (1976) 

Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877 – 1933): Hommage a Händel, Op. 75b 

Arild Sandvold (1895 – 1984): Adagio, Op. 9 

Petr Eben (1929 – 2007): “Moto Ostinato” from Sunday Music: 

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759): “Hornpipe” from Water Music, Suite in F HWV 348: (trans. O. H. Peasgood) 

Magne H. Draagen (1974 – ): Improvisation on a folk tune from Hornindal 

Eugène Gigout (1844 – 1925): “Grand Choeur Dialogue” from 6 Pièces d’orgue 

—Mel Martin

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