LARS G FREDRIKSSON
on the Van den Heuvel organ of the Katarina Church, Stockholm
I would describe Fredriksson's performances of Dupre's 2nd Symphony & Noel Variations, Franck's 3 Pieces and 3 of the Pieces de Fantaisie by Vierne as good but reserved with cautious tempi at times. The Franck pieces have a pleasing flow but I longed for more flexibility, and compared with other recordings of these 3 composers there's a lack of flair and panache. On the plus side, Fredriksson does allow us to hear textural details and harmonic colour frequently missing from faster renditions.
Van den Heuvel's instruments have laid claim to be reconstructions of the French symphonic Cavaill-Coll style, but to my ears the Stockholm organ doesn't sound much like a romantic 19th-century instrument. Indeed I feel there's a more Gallic flavour to be heard from Lewis organs in Britain, such as the 1902 instrument in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow. That said, the Stockholm organ is very fine with a clear tutti & good solid reeds, unlike so many thin modern examples. It's a shame that it receives far too close a recording; the church's generous acoustic sounds like it's in another building! You'll hear better recordings of this organ on other CDs, i.e. Cypres CYP1631. CN
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