WORKS: Works by Leighton, Pärt, Hakim, Roth, Eben, Bovet, Hendrie & Rogg
PERFORMER: John Scott (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: PRCD 643
To pronounce each of the works on this disc as a masterpiece might be a rather lofty claim, yet there can be no dispute as to the richness of diversity and style on display in this hugely rewarding programme.
Placing the uncompromising, turbulent intensity of Kenneth Leighton back to back with the other-worldly, astral sonorities of Arvo Pärt gives clear indication as to the allure that the organ possesses for contemporary composers across the musical spectrum. John Scott’s programme comes from the newly installed Mander organ in the church of St Ignatius Loyola, New York.
Although designed within a French Romantic framework, it is very much a contemporary instrument, and the strength of these performances by John Scott lies in the way he creates such authentic, yet diverse, sound-worlds on one instrument. Listen to the muscular, quasi-percussive rhythmic esprit he injects into Naji Hakim’s Variations on Two Themes, helped in no small measure by a superb, immediate recording quality, or his supreme technical control over the restless energy which courses through the veins of Leighton’s Op. 41 Prelude, Scherzo and Passacaglia.
Scott is as much at home in lighter repertoire, concluding the programme with a smile on his face in Guy Bovet’s Toccata Planyavska. This is irresistible playing. Stephen Haylett