WORKS: Dance No.2; Dance No. 4; Act III Finale from Satyagraha
PERFORMER: Kevin Bowyer (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5664
Try as I might, I find it hard to connect with music that seems to deny fundamental aspects of musicality. And particularly when it is played on an instrument where the business of projecting musicianship is an occult task at the best of times, namely the organ. Such is my experience of Philip Glass’s music for organ. Objectively considered, I can hear the minute changes in patterning, the dislocations, the trance-like effect over time of this music. I know that this is what makes the music tick, but I am still left wanting more. On the other hand if minimalism drives your engine, then this disc may be for you. The execution is admirably rhythmic and precise, and the organ a fine one.
What a breath of fresh air is, then, the complementary piece on the disc, Duets and Canons. It is the work of a performing organist, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, a fact which tells immediately. Though the style of the music is ‘cool contemporary’, the whole experience is warmed through by the beauty and sensuousness of the Marcussen’s flute and reed stops. The organ is allowed to speak on its own terms, and speak it does, with considerable eloquence. The musical language is familiar (few discords here), though filtered through Bowers-Broadbent’s highly original mind, so that the false starts and broken-off phrases become very powerful musical statements indeed. Kevin Bowyer as performer seems at one with this striking and appealing music. William Whitehead