Classical review: 50 Best Organ Classics

SINGAPORE - Music Review


EMI Classics 433316 2 (3 CDs)

Must every collection of pipe organ music begin with J.S. Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor?

It is predictably the case with this budget box-set that crams 50 tracks within three discs.

So it is better to start with CD 3, devoted to the great French organ tradition.

It begins with Le Jardin Espendu and Litanies by Jehan Alain, killed in battle action at the age of 29 during the World War II.

Maurice Durufle's Prelude & Fugue On The Name Of Alain, which quotes the theme from Litanies, is also included here.

Two movements from Leon Boellmann's Suite Gothique are heard, and has anyone noticed that his imperious Toccata has the same melody as our Di Tanjung Katong?

Virtuoso fare by Gigout, Mulet and Bonnet beckons, and the set closes with the finale from Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony.

Baroque music fills CD 1, and it is not just Bach, but Buxtehude, Clerambault, Couperin, Daquin and Handel's most famous organ concerto, nicknamed The Cuckoo And The Nightingale.

CD 2 has the wedding favourites; Mendelssohn's Wedding March, Jeremiah Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary, Purcell's Trumpet Tune and Widor's Toccata are all here.

The roster of organists is distinguished, including Britain's Simon Preston, Nicolas Kynaston (who inaugurated Victoria Concert Hall's Klais organ), Jane Parker-Smith and Wayne Marshall among them.

To the record label's credit, even the locations of the individual organs have been named.

There are no accompanying notes, but this is a pretty good sampler for budding organ enthusiasts and beginners.

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