MENDELSSOHN: ORGAN SONATAS
Reg Elson plays the Viscount Prestige Organ at Woodsetts House, Woodsetts
GUILD GMCD 7249
Without doubt this is a ground-breaking CD for a very well-established recording company to make, since it features a retired orthopaedic surgeon playing his electronic organ in the comfort of his own home. Don't be fooled though! Reg Elson gives a fine account of the six sonatas, and his Viscount Prestige stands up pretty well to the detailed tonal scrutiny that Mendelssohn's fine craftsmanship demands.
Not surprisingly the project began as an experiment that eventually encouraged all involved to complete the recording of the whole cycle. The Viscount Prestige is a large 3 manual instrument with a simulated tracker action and drawstops. The instrument is voiced using various samples from North German organs.
Reg Elson's love of this glorious music is reflected in his sense of structure, thoughtful registration and consistently neat, accurate playing. The North German voicing ensures clarity both in the contrapuntal and tutti sections, and it really is lovely to hear all the notes in the toccata style movements, which so often pass by in an unsatisfying blur. However, I can guess that the Viscount sound won't be to every listener's taste.
The recording is accompanied by an excellent booklet, and I really must commend Reg Elson's own programme notes which are clear, concise and extremely readable for listeners who are not organists in 'the know' - a most refreshing approach!
At seventy-two Reg Elson leads a very full life, and organ playing is but one of his interests. He has certainly accomplished an exceptional achievement with this recording. I look forward to hearing more from Woodsetts House in the future. GB
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