Peter King Plays the Klais Organ of Bath Abbey

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Boëly,Eben,JS Bach,Mendelssohn,Messiaen,Rebuke,Saint-Saens,Vierne
LABELS: Regent
ALBUM TITLE: Peter King Plays the Klais Organ of Bath Abbey
WORKS: Works by Boely, Saint-Saens, Eben, Mendelssohn, JS Bach, Messiaen, Vierne and Rebuke
PERFORMER: Peter King (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: REGDV003

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If Peter King can’t show off Bath Abbey’s Klais organ to its best advantage then nobody can. Sometime director of music, currently ‘Organist Emeritus’, King was responsible for the design of the instrument unveiled in 1997, and he proves an affable guide to its inner workings on a DVD that supplies an informative backstory to the companion recital CD; certainly it will commend itself to even those viewers who don’t necessarily want their Messiaen gilded with images of the building’s carved angels (however appropriate), or a selection of Advent and Christmas chorale preludes from Bach’s Orgelbüchlein cut with shots of Bath Christmas Market. Quite what aerially tracking a bus passing Caffè Nero adds to Saint-Saens’s E flat Fantasie is anyone’s guess, though shots of Bath’s hot springs marry well with the fluty deliquescence of Vierne’s Naïades. And having been introduced via DVD to the instrument’s Baroque exotica, we’re agog to hear the Cymbelstern sprinkle a dusting of ‘jingle bells’ over Bach’s In Dulci Jubilo, and savour the silvery elation bestowed by the glockenspiel on In dir ist Freude.

King is a fine organist at the helm of a fine instrument, and steers Mendelssohn’s E minor Fugue to a superbly articulated resplendent close. At lightning speed he scuds effortlessly up and down across three keyboards at the end of Eben’s Moto Ostinato – sonically and visually spectacular – and he crowns an invigorating workout with Reubke’s formidable Sonata on the 94th Psalm. The Allegro con fuoco snarls and spits; its Fugue bristles with Old Testament brimstone. Reubke to relish!

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Paul Riley