STYLE: Classical RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 170617-27287 LABEL: Regent REGCD508 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
My review of this enjoyable collection has to start with my usual caveat: while it is well played there is little explicit Christian content so if that is what you are looking for then you will be disappointed. However organ buffs will be delighted to hear this large four-manual, 60-rank, organ, built by the Schantz firm in 1965 and restored by them in 2012, being put through its paces in this wide-ranging survey of American organ music from the late 19th century to the present day. In addition to well-known extrovert works in variation form by Percy Buck ("The Star Spangled Banner") and Charles Ives ("America") which frame the recital there are lesser-known works in a wide variety of styles, including some first recordings. Aaron Copland is represented by John Fesperman's masterful transcription for organ of his monumental "Passacaglia" for solo piano. The remainder of the works are originals for solo organ and provide a fascinating survey into the breadth and quality of recent writing for the organ in the USA, played on an authentic American organ. Emma Lou Diemer's "Four Excerpts From Folk Hymn Sketches For Organ" and Barbara Harbach's "Fantasy And Fugue On Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" are the closest we get to "Church music", for want of a better description, but there is nothing in this recital that is not worth hearing. Organist and conductor Andrew Peters serves as organist and minister of music at Second Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis. At the church he directs the choral groups and hand-bell choir, plays the recently restored organ and oversees the church's Couts Music Series as artistic director. He plays with the Saint Louis Symphony as ensemble organist and is assistant conductor of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Saint Louis.
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