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The Merton Organ - works by Franck, Stanley, Messiaen, Bach, Dupré and Vierne / Benjamin Nicholas, organ

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Wir danken dir, Gott, Cantata no 29, BWV 29
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwolfe, Cantata no 22, BWV 22
>Franck, César : Pieces (3) for Organ
>Stanley, John : Voluntary for organ in A minor, Op. 6/2
>MessiaenOlivier : Livre du Saint Sacrement
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Toccata and Fugue for Organ in D minor, BWV 565
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Andante with Variations for organ in D major [Pieces (2) for organ no 1]
>Langlais, Jean : Suite Breve
>Dupre, Marcel [Composer] : Cortege et litanie, for organ & orchestra (or organ solo), Op. 19/2
>Vierne, Louis : 24 Pieces de Fantasie, Second Suite
>Vierne, Louis : 24 Pieces de Fantasie, Third Suite
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

In a golden age of organ-building, Merton College's new Dobson instrument stands out as exceptional. It is only the third American-built organ sent to the UK since the Second World War, a bold commissioning choice made by Benjamin Nicholas, Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music at Merton College. Designed to accompany the chapel's daily choral services and to honor the chapel's ancient architecture, the instrument also had to be equipped to perform a large part of the solo repertoire. It is the success of this third aim that Nicholas demonstrates on the organ's début recording. From Stanley to Messiaen - and selections from the vast literature in between - no inquisitive listener will feel short-changed by the variety and virtuosity on display here. In his solo début, Nicholas combines flair and intelligence as he presents the stunning instrument he helped mastermind.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
Benjamin Nicholas, the Organist and Director of Music at Merton College, plays a program that is meant to show off the organ's capabilities in a variety of styles. While there are many recordings available where the organ is tonally better suited for some of the pieces (particularly Franck, DuprT, and Vierne), the eclectic tonal design allows convincing performances of all the works here. Nicholas is a competent player - clean, accurate, and stylistically aware. The booklet offers extensive notes on the music, the organ, as well as color photos of the gorgeous installation. There is a detailed article about this organ in the July 2014 issue of The Diapason, and the Dobson website (dobsorgan.com) offers even more technical information and photos. My Anglican soul now yearns to attend Choral Evensong in Merton College Chapel and hear this instrument in its context.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014).



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Wir danken dir, Gott, Cantata no 29, BWV 29 :: Sinfonia
  • Performers: Marcel Dupré (Organ); Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 08/27/1731

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, Cantata no 22, BWV 22 :: Ertödt uns durch dein' Güte
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 02/07/1723

>César Franck (1822 - 1890) : Pieces (3) for Organ :: Pièce héroïque
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1878

>Stanley, John : Voluntary for organ in A minor, Op. 6/2
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>MessiaenOlivier : Livre du Saint Sacrement :: no 16. Pirère après la Communion
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1984

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Toccata and Fugue for Organ in D minor, BWV 565
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: by 1708

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Andante with Variations for organ in D major [Pieces (2) for organ no 1]
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 07/23/1844

>Langlais, Jean : Suite Brève :: no 4. Dialogue sur les mixtures
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947

>Marcel Dupré (Composer) (1886 - 1971) : Cortège et litanie, for organ & orchestra (or organ solo), Op. 19/2
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Vierne, Louis : 24 Pièces de Fantasie, Second Suite :: no 5. Clair de lune
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1926

>Vierne, Louis : 24 Pièces de Fantasie, Third Suite :: no 6. Carillon de Westminster
  • Performer: Benjamin Nicholas (Organ)
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford (01/10/2014-01/12/2014)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1927