Monday, March 31, 2008
Widor Early Symphonies
Charles-Marie Widor, Symphonies No. 3 and 4
Charles Krigbaum at the Newberry Memorial Organ, Woolsey Hall, Yale University
AKFA Records, SK-522, 1992
This is another issue in this series. I've little to add to my observations about the previous releases here except to confirm my previous impressions. This organ makes such convincing sounds that whatever it lacks in authenticity for this music it more than makes up for with its own very compelling voice. Overall, this instrument is much less reedy than the big Cavaillé-Colls--Aeolian Skinners in general, I think--though not less powerful. Rather, the power is made a different way, seemingly from just moving a whole lot of air through very large scale fluework rather than from a resort to brash reeds. That makes for a different effect, though I dare say it's no less effective.
This is always my impression of the more successful Skinners, that they exhibit a power and intensity all their own, some X-factor which newer "American Classic"-style concert organs (like the Dobson in Kimmel Center or the Meyerson Fisk) don't quite capture. I wonder what the comparative sound pressure levels between the instruments would be. It could be that I've got my teeth into a little subtlety that doesn't quite hold up to thorough rinsing, but every time I listen to this Woolsey Skinner I think "My god what a huge, huge sound."
The playing is excellent, as is the recording.