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The Clifton organ is an especially fine example of its kind, Joseph von Glatter-Götz’s modernist vision providing a compelling synergy with Ronald Weeks’s Le Corbusier-infused brutalism. Not often recorded, the organ is here elegantly captured in its live acoustic environment. Stephen Bryant’s programme is short of any music with obvious links to the era and philosophy from which both organ and building emanate (Bach’s emblematic role as source of inspiration behind the Orgelbewegung notwithstanding). This feels like a missed opportunity: the post- war repertoire from the German-speaking world is what brings organs like these to life, is considerable and is now being rediscovered. Bryant’s no-nonsense approach serves Bach (BWV 565, 578 and 684) well when played on this organ, but his 17th-century repertoire (Muffat’s Toccata Septima, Böhm’s Vater unser and Buxtehude’s Passacaglia in D minor) is rather wooden, lacking any substantial differentiation between strong and weak impulses. Brahms’s O Gott, du frommer Gott and Mendelssohn’s Prelude & Fugue in C minor are delivered in similarly rhythmically uncompromising fashion… as indeed they might have been in 1973. Perhaps not so incongruous after all.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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