Magazine article The American Organist

The Grand Organ of Liverpool Cathedral

Magazine article The American Organist

The Grand Organ of Liverpool Cathedral

Article excerpt

VIDEO

THE GRAND ORGAN OF LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL. Ian Tracey, organist. V/195 (2007); original organ by Henry Willis (1923-26); major rebuild and modifications (1958-âÏ); general rebuild, Harrison and Harrison (1977); new five-manual recital console (1989); Trompette Militaire added (1998); central space division added (2007). Organ currently maintained by David Wells. Priory PRDVD 1 (contains 5.1 Surround DVD and stereo CD). The monumental instrument of Liverpool Cathedral is one of the world's largest and most significant pipe organs. Ian Tracey has been associated with the cathedral and this instrument most of his life. Indeed, as this video recording proves, he is a consummate master of the instrument, and the music he performs on it. Such an instrument in such a space is destined to produce grand effects, and so it does, under Tracey's inimitable artistry. Listening to the CD, one can appreciate the stunning brilliance of his performances. The DVD allows us to see how he achieves this with seeming ease. It is a master lesson on the finer points of technique. Tracey maintains absolute, quiet control over every aspect of his playing, even while navigating through the greatest technical challenges and producing sonic pyrotechnics. The only deviation from this is his habit of abruptly thrusting up his hands for releases. The video alternates between close-ups of Tracey's hands and feet (occasionally using splitscreen for simultaneous coverage) and shots of the magnificent interior of the cathedral, as well as its exterior and other scenes from surrounding environs. Some fine close-ups of the pipework, statuary, the High Altar, as well as shots of historic photographs are welcome inclusions. (It would have been helpful if an index identifying the video scenes and photos had been included on the DVD). It seems at times that the video is a fraction of a second out of sync with the audio, which may be annoying to some, but this problem is minimal. …

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