Mozart/Haydn/CPE Bach

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart/Haydn/CPE Bach
LABELS: ISIS
WORKS: Music for Organ, and arrangements
PERFORMER: Martin Souter (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 006 DDD
Martin Souter’s innovative and enlightening series of recitals on period instruments continues to grace the organ catalogue. The single-manual organ from Lulworth Castle, built by Richard Seede in 1785, provides the setting for this latest release, and it is indeed a fine-looking and musical instrument.

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One might assume a rather limited repertoire would be at Souter’s disposal, but this organ is able to produce two trump cards. First, a mechanical aid enables the performer to make rapid dynamic contrasts, thus imitating two separate manuals, and secondly, the compass of the keyboard extends down an extra fifth, giving the effect of an independent pedal part.

Souter makes a judicious selection of continental music of the period, including arrangements of the overture to The Marriage of Figaro and Haydn’s Symphony No. 67 which come off superbly well. Rather than sounding like orchestral transcriptions, they seem to enjoy a new lease of life in this context.

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This organ at full throttle is a wonderfully sonorous and clear-sounding instrument, as demonstrated by the various Mozart miniatures interspersed in the programme, but perhaps the little Sonata in A by CPE Bach shows off its versatility best, with Souter fully alive to the character of the music. Highly recommended. Stephen Haylett