Released in July 2018:
The Gates of Vienna
The first Ars Organi CD (AOR001), issued in July 2018, was 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 (July 2018), 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])