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.CLASSICAL

PLEASANT, FAVOURITE PIECES g j

FESTIVAL OF ORGAN MASTER

PIECES, Vo! J. Works by Purcell, Han del, 8ach, Couperin, Widor and Men delssohn Played by Douglas Law rence. Move Record.

THIS Australian-produced record

ing is a pleasant collection of favourite pieces, even if all cannot be classed truly as "organ masterpieces".

For example, transcriptions of such things as Handel's 'Largo' from his opera 'Xerxes', two Purccll pieces from the in cidental music he wrote for a play 'Ab delazar', or of Bach's chorale 'Jcsu, Joy of Man's Desiring' are hardly organ master pieces. But one should not be too critical of popular selections such as these being included, as this disc is obviously aimed at as wide a market as possible. And 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' is interesting as it is performed in a four-hand arrangement, with Rod Junor joining Lawrence in the performance, which enables the complete version of the original church cantata chorale to be played.

Bach is also represented by his magnifi cent Toccata and Fugue in D minor' which, despite its use in TV advertisements (misuse would be more accurate) remains

one ol his greatest and most popular organ

works.

As a display piece there is the 'Toccata' from the 'Organ Symphony No. 5' of Widor, while a broad 'Chaconne' by Louis Couperin and the lovely, reflective final movement from Mendelssohn's 'Organ Sonata No. 6\ his last in this form, provide

attractive contrast.

The playing is crisp, with quite ap propriate choice of registrations, and the recording catches the sound of the organ of St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, where it was made, with excellent clarity. This instrument is a large neo-classical organ of four manuals and 73 speaking stops which was completed in 1964: it is well suited to the music included on this wcll-produccd disc.

MUSIQUE BYZANTINE - Per

formed by lycourgos Angelopoulos (Members of the Byzantine choir of the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Athens). CBS/Avan Guard.

The liturgical music of the Greek Church developed on its own lines, distinct from that of the Roman

Church, although having some ele

ments in common.

So these performances, recorded in Athens, while having a limited appeal have great interest for the music historian and for the student of early church music.

It may be pushing history a little to label all that is here 'Byzantine Music*, yet what is heard on this disc is undoubtedly based on medieval Byzantine music. Most of the 10 items are hymns, or "fcanones", which have an elaborate structure based on a system of eight "modes", these 'modes' arc a repertoire of melodic motives, choscn by the singer and combined to form a melody.

The singer's originality is demonstrated in the manner he combines these motives and how he ornaments them.

On this recording there are two solo singers, accompanied by five other voices, all male and unaccompanied, which main tain a static, non-harmonic and sustained background to the mclismatic patterns of the soloist. Obviously much of this music has been formalised over the centuries: it would appear that most of the items here

are based on realisations of syllabic i melodies achieved by noted singers of the j

18th and 19th centuries. !

This is quite an intriguing disc for the ]

medievalist. ;

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