Magazine article The American Organist

Nordic Journeys, Vol. 6: Organ Music from Finland

Magazine article The American Organist

Nordic Journeys, Vol. 6: Organ Music from Finland

Article excerpt

NORDIC JOURNEYS, VOL. 6: ORGAN MUSIC FROM FINLAND. James D. Hicks. Two-CD set. Pro Organo CD 7279, 2016. ProOrgano.com. For the sixth volume in his series, James Hicks turns to Turku Cathedral and its 1980 Virtanen organ, and to St. Michael's Church in Turku, with its 2002 Grønlunds organ. The previous five volumes, made between 2010 and 2015, were all recorded in Sweden, so this two-CD set breaks new ground. (Composers of all Nordic nations have been represented in this ongoing project.)

Possessed of a sure and strong technique and a vivid sense of acoustical space, Hicks delivers a rousing account of some very interesting repertoire, some of it composed very recently, and some of it not new, but undoubtedly new to most American listeners. These works include the Tema con variazione, Op. 35, of Armas Maasalo (1885-1960), whom Hicks calls "one of the pioneers of Finnish organ music." Maasalo had some contact with Gigout, putting him squarely on our radar screens. Another such work is the Fantasy-Sonata (or Fantasia-Sonaatti) of Frederik Isacsson (1883-1962). Cast in almost a Reubkelike or Regerian mold, it is inspired by St. Augustine's famous "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." Hicks notes that this piece is still unpublished; 1 hope that will soon change. …

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