Christopher Herrick's excellent 'Organ Dreams' series has now reached its fourth incarnation and it is as packed with goodies as the previous three volumes before it. Herrick plays the lovely organ of St. Nikolai, Halmstad in Sweden and produces a wonderful sound in all the works on offer here.
Widor's 'Marche' is permeated with touches of Bach's Chorale Prelude, 'Wachtet auf' and sounds extremely beautiful whilst the rigorous music of César Franck in the form of the Prelude, Fugue et Variation offers an interesting contrast. The short works by Duruflé', Wesley, Grace and Alkan also explore the various possibilities of the organ and they are charmingly played by Herrick.
However, this series is mostly memorable for the 'big guns' and these come in the shape of Sumsion's 'Air, Berceuse and Procession' and Liszt's monumental 'Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen'. Both works find Herrick in his element and display the vast range of sounds that are possible to emanate from this stupendous organ. Guilmant's Choral is also quite winningly done with an apocalyptic finale that really brings the house down.
I really cannot praise this disc too highly as the standard of execution and the glorious sound are up to the highest standards. Relf Clark provides concise and informative notes on the composers and works concerned whilst the lovely painting by John William Waterhouse complements the music perfectly. Organ lovers will definitely have already started reaching for their wallets to add this disc to their collection.
Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech