ORGAN POLYCHROME - Jan Kraybill (Organ)

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ORGAN POLYCHROME - The French School - Jan Kraybill (Organ) - 2011 Casavant Op. 3875 Organ - 030911113322 - Released: September 2014 - Reference RR-133HDCD

1} Charles-Marie Widor: Allegro from Symphony No. 6 in G minor, Op. 42
2} Florent Schmitt: Prière from Prélude in G minor, Op. 11 (world première)
3} Jehan Alain: Deux danses à Agni Yavishta
4} Joseph Bonnet: Variations de Concert, Op. 1
5} Maurice Duruflé: Scherzo, Op. 2
6} Marcel Dupré: Prélude et Fugue in G minor, Op. 7
7} César Franck: Pièce héroïque
8} Félix-Alexandre Guilmant: Caprice in B flat Major, Op. 20
9} Louis Vierne: Prélude, Caprice & Intermezzo from Pièces de fantaisie, Suite No. 1
10} Eugène Gigout: Grand-Choeur Dialogué

In this day and age of bits and bytes, midi files, miniaturization, computerization, digital sound creation and manipulation, and everything synthetic and disposable, it certainly is comforting to know that magnificent pipe organs like this Casavant Frères Opus 3875, 2011 located in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, are still being built. Organ building is a craft that goes back a few hundred years, and it would be a shame for the king of instruments to become obsolete. Although new commissions from churches for liturgical use are few and far between, more are being designed and built for concert halls. This particular instrument features 4 keyboards, 79 stops, 102 ranks, tracker action, and 5,548 pipes, the biggest of which weighs 960 pounds. You can see a video here of the tracker mechanism in action. I myself played on a few Casavant organs for many years, and if there is one thing in common to all of them, and this one is no exception, is that what they lack in top end brilliance, they certainly make up for with a solid midrange and exceptionally full-bodied lower bass notes. On some of the tracks, my "good" speakers struggled with some of the louder 32' pipe notes generated by this organ, but if you have a good subwoofer, I'm sure you will be able to rattle your home's foundation now and then. For example, the Allegro from Symphony No. 6 in G minor by Charles-Marie Widor will run any sound system through the wringer. If you can play this one really loud without clipping your amplifier or melting your speakers, then you have an impressive system. All credit goes to the recording engineers at Reference Recordings for capturing every bit of air displacement this organ can produce.

This première solo recording of the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, features an all French menu which caters to all tastes. From the staunch conservatism of the Franck, to the modern voice of Jehan Alain, the whimsical and inventive Vierne, and the great power of the Gigout. It also includes the world première recording of the Prière from Prélude in G minor by Florent Schmitt, a piece that brings out this monstrous instrument's gentler, lyrical side. It's obvious that organist Jan Kraybill, who is the Organ Conservator at the Kauffman Center, knows this organ's capabilities very well, and as such matches each piece's character to the best combination of stops possible. I envy her position. Sitting at that console, in command of all that power, must feel like sitting on a rocket.

Jean-Yves Duperron - October 2014