(The opening section of Beispiel in C, attributed to Johann Kaspar Kerll [1627-1693])
It’s here! Released on 2 July 2018 …
The first Ars Organi CD (AOR001) is The Gates of Vienna: Baroque Organ Music from the Habsburg Empire. Performed by Robert James Stove on the splendid organ of St Patrick’s Catholic Church in the Melbourne suburb of Mentone, this recording includes works by Johann Jakob Froberger, Georg Muffat, Gérard Scronx, Jan Zach, and other composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Its title refers to the 1683 Siege of Vienna, where combined Austrian and Polish forces routed the invading Ottoman army. This victory is also commemorated by the engraving on the CD’s cover.
Some of the works in this collection have not only never been released on CD before, they have never been recorded at all. The Gates of Vienna is captured in admirably vivid sound that conveys the opulence, powerful bass notes and piercing reeds of ‘the King of Instruments’. It serves as a fascinating guide to one of the richest and most enjoyable periods of music history.
To see a YouTube video of the recording’s Melbourne launch, click here.
Critics’ generous praise:
‘Every selection is rendered stylishly and with panache, and the entire proceedings are well recorded. The booklet provides well-written notes by Stove, specifications for the organ, and a brief artist bio. … This is Stove’s debut recording, and also the first release by the brand-new Ars Organi label; on the basis of what is offered here, both deserve a warm welcome and hearty recommendation.’ (James A. Altena, Fanfare [Tenafly, New Jersey])
‘The instrument has a convincing range of voices, and the edge and attack are splendid throughout.’ (Brian Hick, The Organ [London])
‘[In] the works of Georg Muffat, Johann Kaspar Kerll, Johann Jakob Froberger, Lambert Chaumont, Jan Zach and others there is a “substantial variety of mood and approach.” As there is in Stove’s thoughtful, supple and imaginative playing on the 1862 two-manual organ of St Patrick’s, Mentone. Zach’s melancholy Prelude and Fugue in C Minor – one of the recording’s highlights – receives a solemn, majestical reading counterbalanced by anonymous dances and the delightful Echo of Gérard Scronx, itself echoed by Chaumont’s Echo du Premier Ton. Between these extremes lie improvisatory toccatas by Muffat and Froberger and Joseph-Hector Fiocco’s Vivaldian Andante.‘ (William Yeoman, Limelight [Sydney])
‘Stove wisely varies his program so as to highlight the range of the organ and avoid boring the listener … He is clearly a master of the instrument. If the daring listener were to wish to venture into solo organ music for the first time, I would recommend R.J. Stove’s The Gates of Vienna as an ideal starting point.’ (Stephen M. Klugewicz, Modern Age [Wilmington, Delaware])
All right, how do I acquire this clearly bodacious, mad, phat, and possibly even adequate, recording?
Since 2 July 2018 The Gates of Vienna has been available as a hard-copy CD, complete with detailed booklet annotations. Alternatively, The Gates of Vienna became available from that date for download, via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, and Google Play.
The cost of each hard-copy will be $A20, plus postage and packaging. Of course, the postage will vary according to the buyer’s location. More details here.
To find an easy method of working out how much $A20 is worth in other currencies, click here.
Wanting to pay via PayPal? Click here.
You can also, if you wish, pay via direct Electronic Funds Transfer. For more information about that procedure, see here.
Details concerning how to pay via cheque or money order are available here.
Why Ars Organi?
One of the most respected and successful organ instruction textbooks in recent decades has been the three-volume Ars Organi (Latin for ‘The Art of the Organ’), by the outstanding Belgian musician Flor Peeters (1903-1986). For most of his working life, Peeters combined an Antwerp Conservatoire professorship with a Mechelen Cathedral organ post.
And Peeters’ subject is precisely what this CD label hopes to disseminate. Namely, the art of the organ, wherever it might be found.
Ars Organi is a phrase that transcends any particular musical style, any particular school of organ construction, any particular historical period, any particular national spirit. It is eclectic and evocative. Therefore it is, surely, the perfect name for a label that seeks merely to make the organ per se better known and better loved.
(The image in the header above is of the Spanish Organ in Prague; the photograph itself is by Jorge Rayon, via Wikimedia Creative Commons.)