Notes and Editorial Reviews
Characteristic, occasionally creepy, rich and full. Very convincing.
This disc was made to commemorate the rebuilding of the Klais Orgelbau organ of Auckland Town Hall in 2010. This was the new organ’s first concert with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It’s a very impressive instrument – the full specification is given in the booklet notes – and it’s recorded very well too. The colours and range come across very well in the stereoscape, and the bass is given just the right amount of prominence. It’s played with predictable flair by the estimable fingers of Thomas Trotter, whose musicianship needs no praise from me. The most interesting thing about the performances, however, is the playing of the Auckland
strings, which I found very impressive. For the Poulenc, in particular, they are just right for the characteristic, occasionally creepy sound of the music, rich and full for many of the slower passages but pulsating with life in the whizzy quick passages. Arvo Volmer’s control of the unfolding structure is also very convincing. It’s clear when a new section comes along, but the piece still feels like a coherent whole.
The Saint-Saëns isn’t quite so special and there is nothing remarkable to make it stand out from the considerable competition you’ll find elsewhere for this work. Equally, however, there is nothing wrong with it and, again, the playing of the strings in the slow movement is very convincing. In fact it is remarkably French-sounding in both the pointing of the phrasing and the luxuriant quality of the sound. It won’t make anyone do away with their discs of Levine/Preston or Barenboim/Litaize, but it shows off both the orchestra and the instrument very well.
-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor by Francis Poulenc
Thomas Trotter (Organ)
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1938; France
Venue: Live Auckland Town Hall
Length: 21 Minutes 59 Secs.
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