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NAKED POWER

The organ roars
with BASIL RAMSEY


Priory    PRCD 690

Record Box

 

CD INFORMATION - PRIORY  PRCD 690

The organ, even as 'the king of instruments', suffers a split personality, and not just in two, but probably many sections: the Bach organ, the British organ, the French organ, the American organ, and others - all stemming from the basis of a keyboard instrument with pipe-produced and classically voiced sounds that blend agreeably. Having just been rocked in my chair by the sheer thunder of the instrument at St Eustache in Paris, I'll grasp anything now that is small and quiet. Maybe a glass of water would suffice, also to cool my fevered brow.

This exceedingly ominous talk could be boring, not least to those who fight shy of the organ anyway. I played the organ as a young chap, and have been associated with it in various ways most of my life. I now react even more sharply than, say, ten years ago, when a powerful instrument in hurled into combat with a furious toccata, in this instance by Duruflé - beautifully crafted yet lethal in battle - and for the protagonist at the console to assume the role of a gladiator [listen - track 13, 0:50-1:20]. It is not uncommon, particularly in continental Europe. Speaking as a music lover, I can no longer endure such aural firework displays as music, and in the name of the art we all revere.

This apart, Roberto Bertero has arranged the rest of the programme from popular orchestral and keyboard pieces - Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet overture, and a couple of movements from Prokofiev's ballet suites of the same name, Borodin's In the steppes, two Scarlatti sonatas, and Debussy's Children's Corner complete. How Percy Fletcher's Festival Toccata strayed into this unusual terrain I'll never guess.

The most positive response is to applaud Roberto Bertero's courage and technical skill - and the engineer for capturing pretty good sound quality. Other than that I find no necessity to say more.

 

Copyright © 19 July 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - PRIORY PRCD 690

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews