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Thomas Åberg (b.1952) is a Swedish composer and organist. American Carson Cooman (composer in residence at the Memorial Church of Harvard University) presents an overview of works written by Åberg between 1982 and 2010. The works are, with only a few exceptions, slow, soft, introverted and very static. They are also firmly tonal (with some modal ‘twists’) – there is virtually no counterpoint or development. It could be, as the notes imply, that the music was primarily composed for ‘very young and inexperienced organists’, in which case Åberg should be commended for his nurturing of young talent. Cooman notes the influence of ‘ambient’ music and this would also be a good description of the pieces here. Little information is given about the organ: apparently housed in the residence of one Gregory Tolland (we’re not told where), it seems to have been constructed by the residents using pipework from, among others, Walcker, Sauer, Steere and Aeolian. And yet the recorded sound here is curiously artificial, though whether this is simply because of the addition of digital reverberation or because the organ isn’t what it seems, I don’t know. Whatever, this is decidedly eccentric.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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