COMPOSERS: Blow,By Handel,Cundick,Lemmens & Thalben-Ball,Nystedt,Reger,Sweelinck
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Great European Organs, No. 54 Ð Dunblane Cathedral
PERFORMER: Christopher Nickol (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: PRCD 606
David Ponsford’s programme is exciting, and demonstrates connections between gorgeous pieces by French composers and JS Bach, explaining the links in the booklet notes. Bach’s great C minor Passacaglia, for instance, shares the same theme as André Raison’s Trio. The 1990 Peter Collins organ at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, is ideal for the French music, though Ponsford could use a bit more passion and panache. He’s dull in Bach’s C minor Fantasia, lacking muscular tension, but he has strong ideas about the G major work, whose outer sections he plays on light, tootling stops. The Passacaglia, for me, doesn’t accumulate enough momentum here, though its final fugue goes well. If the playing is just a bit bland on this disc, at least all the music is first-rate and the organ itself full of character.
Neither of which can be said of Christopher Nickol’s disc. He plays the 1989 Flentrop organ in Dunblane Cathedral, a ‘classical’, all-mechanical instrument which, on this showing, doesn’t have much else to recommend it. Not that it’s exactly bad; it just doesn’t have much individuality, and some of the reed stops are downright coarse. To judge from this dry recording, the building’s acoustic doesn’t add much either. As for the music, a lot of it is minor stuff. Adrian Jack