COMPOSERS: Bach,Bonnet & Alain,Cochereau,Couperin,Durufle,Franck,Saint-Saens
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Organ Kaleidoscope
PERFORMER: David Briggs (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: PRCD 685
David Briggs has already established a reputation as a fine recitalist and transcriber of orchestral scores for organ, as witnessed on previous Priory releases. As the title of the disc suggests, here he is given free rein to display his considerable versatility in a programme designed to show off the four-manual Hill, Norman and Beard Gloucester Cathedral organ recently rebuilt by Nicholson and Co. Judging by the thoroughly authentic voice given to works as diverse as Couperin’s Messe pour les paroisses, featuring a combination of reeds which I can hardly believe do not originate from France, and a transcription of Pierre Cochereau’s breathtaking Variations on À la venue de noël, Gloucester should be feeling a city duly proud of its revitalised organ. Briggs introduces his enviable credentials in Bonnet’s Variations de concert, a work of fiendish difficulty for both hands and feet, but which for him holds no terrors. His mastery over orchestral splashes of colour comes to the fore in Duruflé’s Scherzo, memorable for vivid string textures, and marred only by too close a recording. He delivers Bach’s towering G minor Fantasia and Fugue with exemplary style and articulation and is obviously in his element in the brilliant, feverishly rhythmic Cochereau Variations. In short, a splendid disc.