WORKS: Organ Works (complete)
PERFORMER: Kari Vuola (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: ABCD 121
Within seconds of starting to listen to this disc, one is aware that the conditions are right for both an enjoyable and musically stimulating recital. Any reviewer of recorded organ music is instantly drawn into questions about the suitability of the programmed repertoire for the instrument. With the new Kerava organ (Finland), built in 1993 by the German firm HO Paschen Orgelbau (Kiel) and skilfully voiced by the Finnish organ-builders Gripentrog and Mäkinen, and this recital of the complete organ works of Brahms by the talented Finnish artist Kari Vuola, all is in perfect agreement.
The passionate rhetoric and contrapuntal profundity of the early free works (the A minor and G minor Preludes and Fugues), inspired by the composers deliberations over the fantastical works of Bach and Buxtehude, is conveyed superbly by Vuola using the modest but tonally rich timbres of this instrument (which takes as its point of departure the Swedish Romantic organ of the late nineteenth century). The diverse textures and treatments to be heard in the 11 Chorales, Op. 122 are equally convincing. I am not always sure about the chosen tempos, especially in one or two of the chorales, but this is a highly recommendable disc, which bears repeated playings for both the instrument and the performances. Andrew McCrea