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4.0 out of 5 stars Great playing, interesting programme but dry acoustics
The playing of Dame Gillian certainly merits all five stars. She shows off the full range of possibilities of the restored RAH organ. She includes even the bass drum. The programme is varied and quite befittingly mostly British. The opening "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" of Liszt receives a carefully thought out performance in the widest imaginable variety of...
Published 1 month ago by Jorma Koskinen

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gillian Weir (organ)- Royal Albert Hall London
As the CD's booklet announces, this Priory disc is the first recording of The RAH organ since its recent restoration. True to form, Gillian Weir gives us an impressive performance of 19th & 20th century music, all very appropriate for this particular instrument. Unfortunately the recording engineers have not managed to come up with the goods on this occasion. As a result...
Published on 26 April 2012 by J. R. M. Bailes

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4.0 out of 5 stars Great playing, interesting programme but dry acoustics, 13 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Gillian Weir plays the Grand Organ of the Royal Albert Hall (Audio CD)
The playing of Dame Gillian certainly merits all five stars. She shows off the full range of possibilities of the restored RAH organ. She includes even the bass drum. The programme is varied and quite befittingly mostly British. The opening "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" of Liszt receives a carefully thought out performance in the widest imaginable variety of colours. For sheer invention this is probably one the top performances of today. The other Liszt item "St. Francis of Paola walking on the waves" is given in an arrangement by Lionel Rogg that I had not heard before. It might be reason enough to buy this record. I liked the Elgar pieces much more than some other reviewers. It was a good idea to conclude with a grand French Toccata and how nice it was to hear an inspired performance of the one by Lanquetuit.

So, why only four stars? The recording quality is not ideal. The makers proudly announce that it was made with a single point Calrec microphone but also encoded in surround sound for a future release. I wonder if that was the best possible option. The sound is very clear but it is somewhat clinical and lacks immediacy, juiciness for want of a better word. This is a curiously lack-lustre affair in spite of the expert playing. The imposing pedal notes can be heard better in any BBC broadcast of the Last night of the Proms. Here they sound dry. Might we expect more reverberation and a better acoustic mix in an eventual (hybrid) surround sound issue?

If you mostly listen to your organ records on a portable device in a compressed mp3 format these considerations will not matter anyway and you can fully enjoy Dame Gillian's expert interpretations. Even if you listen with an adequate sound system this recording is worth having for its interesting and varied programme that fully demonstrates the vast resources of this monster of an organ.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good recording that shows off the instrument extraordinarily well, 28 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Gillian Weir plays the Grand Organ of the Royal Albert Hall (Audio CD)
Good recording that shows off the instrument extraordinarily well. My only slight moan is Dame Gillian's interpretation of Nimrod and Pomp and Circumstance No. 1; Nimrod was never intended by Elgar to be a hymn for the dead, it is a celebration of a great friendship. Elgar's own performance on record is taken at a much quicker tempo but I am aware that reverberation in the Royal Albert Hall may inform a slower performance. On the other hand, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches are marches so too much rubato seems out of place. However, the performances are, as you would expect, brilliant and show off the abilities of the then newly restored organ - and Dame Gillian! - to advantage. Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gillian Weir (organ)- Royal Albert Hall London, 26 April 2012
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J. R. M. Bailes "John Ba" (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gillian Weir plays the Grand Organ of the Royal Albert Hall (Audio CD)
As the CD's booklet announces, this Priory disc is the first recording of The RAH organ since its recent restoration. True to form, Gillian Weir gives us an impressive performance of 19th & 20th century music, all very appropriate for this particular instrument. Unfortunately the recording engineers have not managed to come up with the goods on this occasion. As a result the organ sounds somewhat distant and lacking in punch. Liszt's 'Ad Nos' fantasia, for instance, which opens the programme, is a long way behind Jennifer Bates' stunning recording of it for ASV over 35 years ago. I've heard clearer accounts of Howells' third Rhapsody, too. There is, nevertheless, some interesting items in the latter part of this recital and how good it is to hear the RAH pipes sounding at the correct wind pressures, now that the badly-leaking trunking system has been renovated!
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