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The Dane Poul Ruders (b.1949) is perhaps best known for his orchestral work Concerto in Pieces. The music on the present disc is darker in comparison: the humorous ‘popcorn baroque’ (Ruders’ own term) elements, while still present, are relegated to the background in an altogether more barren, often atonal, cluster-ridden tonal landscape. The Organ Symphony (Ruders’ Symphony no.4), played here by Flemming Dreisig, takes as its cue the third symphony of Saint-Saëns in that the organ is very much part of the orchestra and has no significant solo role. A dramatic work this, powered along by the considerable battery of percussion and worth repeated listening. The solo organ work Trio transcendentale is a trio like no other, developing in four minutes from a sort of camp neoclassicism to all-out atonalism and from piano to the concluding demi-semiquaver contrary motion chromatic scales on full organ. Edinburgh organist Nicholas Wearne – winner of the Ruders Prize at the 2011 Carl Nielsen International Music Competition – handles its fearsome challenges impressively.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing