GMCD 7210 – Organ Works by Liszt with Nicola Kynaston
Nicolas Kynaston – Organ
Choir and Organ January February 02
The recorded sound has enough distance to give atmosphere without sacrificing clarity. A well filled disc, it would make a good introduction to these monuments of organ writing. Kynaston is completely at home in this music on this organ. The subtlety of the registration demonstrates Liszt to be a master of colour and not just a creator of monolithic rhapsody. The sleeve notes are excellent.
The Organ – Vol.80 No. 316 Summer 2001
One of my treasured memories of a fairly recent Southwark Festival was of Nicholas Kynaston playing major works by Liszt (not normally one of my favourite composers) at the Cathedral, combining richness of colour with lucidity. These are included in this marvellous recording on a 1977 Klais organ at lngolstadt Münster. Detail is not obscured despite the long reverberation period, a considerable achievement.
The culmination of the programme is the Fantasia and Fugue “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” from a chorale in Meyerbeer’s Le Prophete. Of particular interest are two transcriptions for organ, Funérailles for the piano (in memory of Chopin – clearly alluding to the A flat polonaise) and the affecting symphonic poem Orpheus, a favourite of mine, considered by Wagner to be Liszt’s finest work – goes wonderfully well on the organ. If you have had a surfeit of Bach, try this for something completely different and of great distinction.
It is easy to write off Liszt’s original organ music and the transcriptions made by himself and others as all rhetoric and bombast. Often his feeling for organ sonorities and his juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated chords generate a distinctive mysticism. Nicholas Kynaston translates all this with an unerring feeling for the appropriate colour. Only in the “Ad nos” fugue is there a loss of clarity resulting from an over fondness for reed choruses. The would be purchaser is strongly advised to go the second mile and buy a copy of the music. Only then will he/she be able to rejoice fully in the magnificence of this playing. The engineers have done wonders in this reverberant acoustic.
BBC Music Magazine June 2001 page 90
This re-release of Kynaston’s 1995 recording of Liszt’s great Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem undam’ still knocks spots off any other version. It is not that it lacks serious competition, either. There is Preston at the organ of Westminster Abby and Scott at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and for the authentically minded, a fine recording by Stefan Bleicher on Merseburg Cathedral organ, where the piece was premiered. But there is no doubt that Kynaston still comes out on top, with his mature and wholly engaging, reading.
The 1977 Klais organ of Ingolstadt Minster is a huge musical resource, similar in size to that of Mersburg Cathedral, though possessing yet more colour and depth. For music of such expansive ambition it is the perfect partner, if used with the sensitivity and imagination it is here, and recorded with such exemplary luminosity and detail. Kynaston’s real achievement, however, is to engineer a complete poetic span, lasting over half an hour. His control of architecture allows space both for the breathtakingly beautiful musical oasis and for the head-over-heels dive towards the final chorale theme. In so many attempts at this piece, the central Adagio section is soporific and the final fugue facile, if technically assured, with the two sections sitting beside each other as in an estranged couple. Kynaston forces us to live and breath the piece with him, coaxing us and then finally hauling us bodily to the final thrilling bars. It is Kynaston at his best.
Organists Review May 2001 Paul Hale
This is one of those stunning recordings which from the corner stones of a record collection indeed it was and ‘ Editor’s Choice’ of Gramophone. As all reviewers noted then the combination of player, music and organ is a heady mix resulting in a musically spectacular result, brilliantly captured in a vast acoustic by the experienced Jonathan Wearn. If you have worn out your original CD, here’s the golden opportunity to replace it. Buy it anyway as a spare, the Guild booklet is a vast improvement on the earlier Carlton release
By Peter Graham Woolf
One of my treasured memories of a recent Southwark Festival was of Nicholas Kynaston playing major works by Liszt (not normally one of my favourite composers) at the Cathedral, combining richness of colour with lucidity. These are included in this marvellous recording on a 1977 Klais organ. The recording quality is magnificent; detail is not obscured despite the long reverberation period in Ingolstadt Münster, a considerable achievement.
The culmination of the programme is the huge Fantasia and Fugue Ad nos, ad salutarem undam (32 mins, including a central Adagio)) developed from a chorale in Meyerbeer’s Le Prophete. Of particular interest are two transcriptions for organ, Funérailles , in memory of Chopin, with a passage clearly alluding to the Ab Polonaise, and the affecting orchestral Symphonic Poem Orpheus, a favourite of Beecham’s (& of mine), considered by Wagner Liszt’s finest work, which goes wonderfully well on the organ.
If you are beginning to feel there has been too much Bach last year, try this for something completely different and of great distinction.
Tower Records – Bob McQuiston – D.C. Classical buyers
Kynaston/Klais Organ, Ingolstadt
Unavailable for several years, this is one of the greatest organ recordings of all time. Kynaston, who was formerly organist and choirmaster at Westminster Cathedral, performs these knuckle buster works of Liszt with a brilliance second to none. Liszt took a symphonic approach to organ music, and treated the instrument like a one-man orchestra. This coupled with Kynaston’s incredible virtuosity and unerring sense-of registration on one of the greatest modern organs in the world, plus sumptuous recorded sound make this a must for every organ enthusiast. Those of you with only a passing interest in organ music are advised to try theis. You may find you’ve been missing on a whole new world of sound.