PLATINUM - Various Organ Works

PLATINUM - Various Organ Works - Stephen Williams (Organ) - Reuter Pipe Organ - 003469695725 - Released: September 2014 - Raven OAR-957

1} Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
2} Johann Sebastian Bach: Wake, awake, for night is flying, BWV 645
3} Johann Sebastian Bach: Jesu, joy of man's desiring, BWV 147
4} Felix Mendelssohn: Sonata No. 6 in D minor
5} Percy Whitlock: Fanfare (from Four Extemporizations)
6} Antonio Soler: The Emperor's Fanfare
7} CÚsar Franck: Choral No. 2 in B minor
8} Petr Eben: Moto ostinato No. 3 (from Sunday Music)
9} Leo Sowerby: Carillon
10} Louis Vierne: Carillon de Westminster

It's always nice to hear old favorites again, even if you've heard them too many times. For example, I myself have played the Johann Sebastian Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor so often (everytime I would play someone would ask me to play it) that I believe it's become part of my psyche. The same can be said for the Jesu, joy of man's desiring and the Carillon de Westminster by Louis Vierne. But it's a pleasure to hear them again through another organist's perspective and performed on a different pipe organ, especially when it's an impressive instrument like 1993 Reuter Pipe Organ in St. John's Lutheran Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Organist Stephen Williams injects some fresh insights into the Toccata and Fugue, particularly by using a variety of stops during the final moments. As a matter of fact, his choice of registration and tempo for each and every piece in this collection is always well judged.

As a strong contrast and counterbalance, Stephen Williams and the people at Raven have included lesser known pieces by a variety of composers which really go a long way to highlight this pipe organ's qualities and capabilities. For example, The Emperor's Fanfare by Antonio Soler certainly puts the "Festival Trumpet" pipes (pictured below) to work in a display of stentorian power. The booklet notes explain: Played almost entirely on what has been dubbed the "Party Horn in the Sky", horizontal trumpets mounted in the ceiling nearly eighty feet above the floor at the entrance to the chancel. We are still trying to figure out whose crazy idea it was to install these pipes in the ceiling, but we are sure glad they did it, particularly since it has brought a smile to many brides at their wedding entrance. At the other end of the spectrum, the Carillon by Leo Sowerby, with its use of the Chimes, Celesta and Harp stops, is a wonder to hear. The final chord in particular is like a pillow of sound floating on an ocean of air. If you haven't heard this piece yet, it alone is worth getting this CD. And of course, the Carillon de Westminster ends the CD by pushing this organ to its limits, with a final glorious chord powerful enough to register on the Richter scale. Hope someone checked the steeple for structural damage after that one!

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2014

PLATINUM - Various Organ Works