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
CD INFORMATION - PRIORY PRCD 690
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