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Priory’s estimable survey of Great European Organs moves ever closer to its triple-figure milestone with the release of volumes 94 and 96, both featuring Marco Lo Muscio on two delightfully articulate instruments from southern Germany seldom heard on disc.

Typically for Lo Muscio, both programmes push eclectically at repertoire boundaries with an idiomatic certainty and conviction that pleases – and persuades. On a IV/67 Schmid organ, volume 94 elegantly spans half a millennia from a poised medieval dance to prog rockers Steve Hackett’s graceful Horizons and Rick Wakeman’s dramatic ‘neo-gothic’ Catherine Parr. Showing off a nimbly flexible instrument with aplomb are Andreas Willscher’s richly executed Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Lo Muscio’s own virtuosic Visions from Minas Tirith – The White Tree and Buttstett’s D minor Praeludium and Capriccio.

Boasting a darkly hypnotic sheen (leavened by firework-bright top notes) to its heavier-toned voice, the III/46 Matz & Luge organ in Baden-Baden’s St Bernard’s Church on volume 96 is a real find. It’s a gift to Willscher’s Duruflé-accented Prelude, Choral and Variations on ‘Greensleeves’, Wakeman’s grandstanding Judas Iscariot and Orff’s gothic Odi et amo (both adroitly arranged by Lo Muscio).

Characterful fugues by Buttstett and Handel, spirited and sombre preludes by Goettsche, Bach and Rinck, together with Lo Muscio’s own Variations on ‘Gabriel’s Message’ (a delightful take on a Basque Christmas carol) add to the considerable pleasure.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica


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