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Organ Fireworks, Vol. 11
Aaron Copland, Edwin Henry Lemare, Leos Janacek
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 11
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

FIREWORKS...... Plus!
G. Elmore | Los Angeles, CA | 01/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Volume 11 of the Hyperion series ORGAN FIREWORKS has chosen the Lay Family
Concert Organ built by C B Fisk Organ Company, Opus 100. This splendid
instrument in the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas Texas is another premiere
installation of a large concert organ in a Symphony Hall.
Christopher Herrick has been the featured organist for this series first
launched in 1984 by the Hyperion Records Company. The entire series has
brought the organ's repertoire into the realm of splendid programming in
spectacularly chosen venues around the world. It has succeeded in bringing
the pipe organ to the "entertainment" level, where many feel it is only a
"church instrument", when in reality these programs have accomplished
several important objectives.
First you have a top notch organist who excels in performing exciting works
that are full of the magnificent orchestral character with which they were
written. Secondly, the sounds that Hyperion have captured in this splendid
series of locations are treasures that many never get to experience. The
repertoire is fresh, not always familiar, but always worth the listen. It
takes a special organist to bring out the true sound colors of the chosen
pieces and Christopher Herrick has proven himself a master at bridging the
selection of works to each of the instruments. His selection of nineteenth
and twentieth-century organ music in nothing short of astounding. He plays
each with the attention to detail and the myriad of sounds never cease to
amaze. Close your eyes and be taken on a musical journey that embodies a
totally enjoyable program of works by Copland, Edwin H. Lemare, Eugene Gigout,
and many new offerings that will beg you to take a second listen.
For instance this Volume has 3 selections that come from the Jazz Inspirations
for Organ from the 1950's; a Marche by Widor, a Choral and Fugue of Guilmant,
the stunning Organ Solo from Leos Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, and a special
piece that has gotton this listeners ear. The Norwegian composer, Mons Leidvin
Takle. The Festmusikk is the last of a group of his pieces called "Dare to live"
and evokes the listener being taken on a captivating tour of a superb fairground.
Extrovet and compelling for the imagination!
If you are curious about the successful programatic approach to a top notch
organ recital in a top notch setting, with top notch instruments, and a top notch
performer, you have come to the right place. Volume 11 is a winner and it can
continue to entice you to experience the remaining 10 CD's that Hyperion has already
brought us before. On a personal note to Hyperion and Christopher Herrick,
please continue this entrancing experience in the very near future. My stereo system
is anxiously awaiting the next offering(s).
My Current Favorite of the Series
G. Winford | Whidbey Island, WA | 03/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Herrick's Organ Fireworks series only gets better with age. Volumes nine, ten, and eleven are among my favorites. The programs are varied with classic works--from the golden era of the Romantic organ--and engaging and inventive contemporary works. The sound quality is increasingly excellent--and it has never been lacking. The performances are exemplary; Herrick, despite his increasing years, swings and gets downright funky in the jazz-inspired works on this disk; you can feel a youthful enthusiasm and spirit in every note.

The organ is the famous Lay Family Organ at Meyerson Concert Hall in Dallas, built by Fisk, and it is a marvel. The stops cover a palette from the Baroque to the modern era, but it is the pristine voicing of each stop and the amazing clarity of this organ that I find the most remarkable. Its sounds are virtually tactile. I also like the way that the organ seems to suggest the Baroque era in every stop, and yet it still sounds like a thoroughly modern organ.

Herrick, yet again, demonstrates his ability to put together an engaging program. The focus here is on marches and jazz-inspired works. The Gigout, Guilmant, and Jogen pieces are highlights for me. But the three or four jazz pieces are a delight too. The Mons Takle piece--an auditory portrait of a fairground--is four minutes of glorious, hyperactive insanity.

This disk--or any disk in the Organ Fireworks series--offers a great introduction to what the pipe organ is all about. The pipe organ's expressive range and unsurpassed color and texture are all on display here. It is currently my favorite disk in the series.

(And on Herrick's website he says that volume twelve is in the works!)