Bo‘llmann, Guilmant, Gigout, Franck

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bo‘llmann,Franck,Gigout,Guilmant
LABELS: Zerga
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Suite Gothique
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: David M Patrick (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: ZXS 1 (distr. 01923 842185; www.zerga.co.uk)
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.

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William Whitehead