Virgil Fox Encores = BACH: Fugue in G Minor “Little;” Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring; Trio Sonata; Now Thank We All; Air on the G String; HANDEL: Concerto No. 4: Allegro; Concerto No. 1: Aria; MULET: Thou Are the Rock – Virgil Fox, organ – RCA Living Stereo

by | Mar 8, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Virgil Fox Encores = BACH: Fugue in G Minor “Little;” Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring; Trio Sonata No. 6 in G; Now Thank We All Our God; Air on the G String; HANDEL: Concerto No. 4: Allegro; Concerto No. 1 for Strings: Aria; BOYCE: Ye Sweet Retreat; MULET: Thou Art the Rock; PURCELL: Trumpet Voluntary; SCHUMANN: Canon in B Minor; WIDOR: Symphony No. 5 in F Minor: Toccata; ELGAR: Pomp and Circumstance – Virgil Fox, organ of Riverside Church – RCA Red Seal Living Stereo Multichannel (three-channel) SACD 82876-71626-2, 51:12 ****:

This collection of works is primarily encores which the colorful organist often played at his concerts.  It is a sampling of the work of some of the great composers of the past who wrote for the instrument.  The Schumann Canon didn’t fit on the original LP release of this album and so is restored here, and the organ version of Pomp and Circumstance was preserved but never edited for release for some reason.

Fox always chose interesting registrations and stressed the more dramatic aspects of the music. My favorite here has long been the Mulet work, whose complete title is “Peter, Thou Art the Rock.”  It is a stirring and powerful work with plenty of action in the pedals.  The liner notes make the point that though the pipe organ is regarded as the instrument that comes the closest to imitating the complete orchestra, it actually surpasses the orchestra in the high frequency area:  If it has tiny pipes that deliver fundamentals of over 16,000Hz, it is way ahead of the highest frequency instrument in the symphony – the piccolo with its highest fundamental of 4,752Hz.  The Aeolian-Skinner organ in Riverside Church is an immense installation – actually two organs – one in the front and the other in the rear of the church – both controlled by a four-manual console.  The center channel doesn’t seem to add quite as much as it does with the symphony orchestra, but reproduction is rich and with plenty of spatial differentiation of the various ranks of pipes.

– John Sunier

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