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The E.M. Skinner of Chicago University’s Rockefeller Chapel is yet another example of an organ that has suffered numerous unsuccessful rebuilds which failed to address the fundamental problems. On the basis of Douglas Cleveland’s new recording, the Schantz rebuild of 2008 has successfully resolved the problems and brought out the best of Skinner’s original vision. Although the acoustics don’t match the large scale of the building, the organ has both sparkle and resonance. Only in the second suite of Vierne’s Pièces de fantaisie do the tubby reeds hinder the clarity of the instrument. David Briggs’s Four Concert Etudes, reminiscent of the Études of Dupré, is a technical tour de force from Cleveland, although only at its boisterous conclusion did it really captivate.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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