Complete Organ Works
Thomas Trotter (organ)
King’s College KGS 0053 73:25 mins
With single-composer discs devoted to the likes of Dupré, Widor and Messiaen already under his belt, Thomas Trotter’s discography is no stranger to French repertoire; but only now has he turned to Duruflé, a composer whose complete output for the organ fits obligingly onto a single CD. It’s music Trotter knows intimately, and it shows – even when refracted through the very English-sounding organ of King’s College, Cambridge, an instrument on which he cut his teeth as Organ Scholar nearly half a century ago; having recently undergone major restoration, the pipes can respond immediately to Trotter’s often quicksilver virtuosity.
The diaphanous Scherzo Op. 2 for example, the work of a 24-year-old kicking his heels, is despatched with the lightness of flutey thistledown; and, articulated with playful exactitude, the perpetuum mobile triplets keep the fidgety Prélude on the name Alain at an immaculately-modulated rolling boil, the following Fugue unfolded with a leisurely spaciousness that nonetheless builds up a commanding head of steam. An enthusiastic champion of orchestral transcriptions Trotter is adept at exacting the maximum variety of colour, navigating the tonal resources of the King’s instrument with seamless proficiency and fertile imagination.
But Duruflé wasn’t just an impeccable colourist. His structural thinking is fastidious, and Trotter is tellingly on the case. Each step of the way in the Prélude, Adagio et Choral Varié is firmly grasped – the mighty rushing wind paving the way to a blazing statement of the Veni Creator plainsong and three cogent variations culminating in a dazzle of toccata brilliance. A pity not to have a French-sounding instrument in such quintessentially French repertoire, but a tour de force nonetheless.