'Bonjour and Willkommen'

By Distler, Jed | Gramophone, October 2017 | Go to article overview

'Bonjour and Willkommen'


Distler, Jed, Gramophone


'Bonjour and Willkommen' 'A Franco-German Debut' JS Bach Prelude and Fugue, BWV532 Bruhns Praeludium in E minor F Couperin Messe a l'usage ordinaire des Paroisses pour les Festes Solemnelles Franck Choral No 3. Prelude, fugue et variation, Op 18 Hakim Te Deum Liszt Praeludium und Fuge uber den Namen BACH, S260 Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue, Op 37 No 1 Mozart Epistle Sonata, K278 (arr Szathmary) Pachelbel Christus, der ist mein Leben Scheidemann Magnificat V toni Schumann Etuden in kanonischer Form, Op 56 No 4 Sweelinck Bailo del Granduca Vierne Symphonie, Op 28 No 3--Finale Widor Symphonie, Op 13 No 4--Andante cantabile; Scherzo Crista Miller org Acis (F) (2) APL72306 (153' * DDD) Played on the organ of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston

The 19th pipe organ built by Martin Paso and Associates and housed in Houston's relatively new Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart encompasses a colourful and varied tonal scheme that allows for timbrally authentic renderings of both French and German repertoire. Certainly the venue's five-second acoustical decay allows for contrapuntal details to emerge clearly, while, at the same time, massive tuttis never turn muddy or indistinct. More significantly, Crista Miller's two separate French and German programmes covering a wide stylistic range stand out for the organist's effortless virtuosity and musical intelligence. Her transparent textures, clean articulation and forward-moving tempos enliven Franck's third Choral, which can sound turgid in the wrong hands. Similar interpretative strengths impressively play out in the same composer's Prelude, fugue et variation, while her registrations in the finale of Vierne's Third Organ Symphony convey a lighter and leaner orchestral image than in Jeremy Filsell's comparatively massive rendition (Signum, 2/06).

Her mobile Andante cantabile from Widor's Fourth Organ Symphony is followed by the work's Scherzo, where the chromatic filigree takes gentle wing; a pity that Miller didn't have room for the whole symphony. …

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