LABELS: Arte Nova
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Symphonic Organ Music from France
PERFORMER: Christian von Blohn (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 85287 2
Christian von Blohn is a deanery music director in the Rheinland, and by all accounts they should be very proud of him. His eclectic disc of French symphonic organ music is an unexpected gem, demonstrating a range more usually associated with ‘big-name’ performers. The repertoire is mostly familiar party-pieces, but in each of them is a glint of something fresh and unvisited. Alain’s Litanies lives up to its ‘tornado’ epithet, and Widor’s hackneyed Toccata is portrayed in glittering terms, a speeding bullet from the first bar to the last. The organ is a good enough Späth, pushed right to its limits, and all the more exciting for it. By comparison, David M Patrick at the Katarina Church in Stockholm can only seem a bit anaemic. The Van den Heuvel organ pumps out exactly the right sounds for the repertoire, and it is mostly played with aplomb, but there is a blandness to the playing which prevents it from really taking off. And with repertoire that veres dangerously close to four-squareness at times, the combination is not always a happy one. At least the Guilmant Seventh Sonata sounds rumbustious enough.