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    What are the *must-have* organ CDs...?

    I've got boatloads of non-classical organ music. I've never been able to connect with classical organ.

    Than recently I heard a fellow named E. Power Biggs play some Bach and I saw the light. (Heard it, actually.)

    So far, that's hands-down the best classical organist I've ever heard ... not muddy, not overdone, not over-intellectualized (are you reading this, Felix Hell?).

    But I have no way of knowing where to go from here. I find no "top 10" lists of great classical organ CDs on the internet. I don't know who the other big boys are.

    If, say, I were to buy only two or three classical organ albums ... other than E. Power Biggs ... can anyone steer me to what those must-have desert-island CDs would be?

    NEUMIE

    #2
    E. Power Biggs recordings are the best there are....he was quite finicky about having the highest quality recording equipment and setting the microphones for optimimum sound quality. (Virgil Fox recordings can be pretty ho hum or downright muddy due to poor technology being used).

    E. Power Biggs stuff sounds like it was recorded yesterday..I HIGHLY recommend his Flentrop organ CD's recorded at the Germanic Museum in Boston. A lovely neo baroque organ that records stunningly well.

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      #3
      www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlYPLDJ8TOE When I searched Passacaglia & Biggs, I got a result from Amazon of a Sony Classics CD that seems to have these pieces, but no listing of the CD number or the organ performed on. I've seen a net article about the 3 Colombia Masterworks CD's issued in 1991, that had the number, but can't find it now. Biggs performance of the Passacaglia on the Boston Symphony Hall Aeloian Skinner about 1955, "Bach's Royal Instrument", is not as good.
      The other work that knocked me out, I received recently in the Dr. E. Fuchs organ LP collection from Dr. David Lamb. A 1955 Mercury Living Presence LP in Mono MG50169. Widor, Symphony # 6 Allegro movement, Recorded by Marcel Dupre at St Thomas Church, NYC. The recording engineer was the legendary C.R. Fine Under the direction of Wilma Cozart.
      I am so taken with "Passacaglia" that now that I am not working, I have bought an organ and am teaching myself the piece. Took about a thousand reps to get the first 16 measures correct with the feet. In my second year, I am on to page 3. Dr Lamb gave me a lesson and discussed some of the tricks that Biggs used on the MS6261 performance to make the melody stand out against the counterpoint elements.
      Of the 200 records Dr Fuchs collected, the only modern recordings that have a sound getting a "Plus" with my rating pen, is a Peerless Record Co EXP21 "JS Bach organ works Vol 1" with the Passacaglia, Toccata Dm, and a Prelude & Fugue in G min, played by Lionel Rogg. The recordings were made by Radio Zurich on the Grossmunster organ. I see Mr Rogg is still living and records CD's for EMI. If life ever slows down I might purchase one of these, particularly the Buxtehude.
      Last edited by indianajo; 09-01-2011, 06:39 AM.
      city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

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        #4
        Slightly different genre of organ music here but I'd be interested to know of desert island picks for Hammond & Leslie guys like Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Groove Holmes etc., I've got some great Jimmy Smith but don't know about too many other artists along that line and would be interested to hear of forum member faves and suggestions...

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          #5
          Funny you should mention Groove Holmes. I picked up a CD at Goodwill last month "b-3'in organ jazz" Jazz Heritage 515569Z. It has two Groove Holmes cuts on it, kind of fun:"Shippin out" (exerpt) and "Do Nothing til You Hear from Me". for Tubejack, he is using the percussion. I don't believe he was on the previous "great hammond hits" list.
          I've been looking for Jimmy Smith albums for a year at GW and Salvation Army, no hits yet. I did find "Ebb Tide" by Earl Grant, pleasant but not earthshattering. I prefer Lenny Dee "Down South", the cover is worth $1 alone. He plays a modified A.
          Ethel Smith seems to be famous, Dr. Lamb mentioned her, but her "Waltz with Me" album on Hammond is pure milktoast. I really prefer Dr. Fuchs collection of George Wright albums, even though he is playing on a Wurlitzer and a Conn and the vibrato is insane (like level 4 on my H182, wondered why it had that).
          Oh, In classical don't miss St Saens "Organ Symphony #3". There are a lot of good ones, Dr Fuchs version on Telearc seems to be really good and they sell CD's, too. Michaeal Murphy organist, Eugene ORmandy & Philedelphia Orch, Telearc st 10051. for the LP.
          Last edited by indianajo; 09-01-2011, 01:03 PM.
          city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

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            #6
            E-Power Biggs is definately my favorite classical organist to listen to but there is one Virgil Fox recording that I would recommend as much for his commentary as well as his playing, and that is the Heavy Organ at Carnegie Hall, his legendary 1973 concert. Includes many Back Favorites, and his interpretation of a couple of well known Christmas Carols. I would put that in my top 10 list of organ recordings. The down side of this recording is it was recorded on a Rogers Electronic organ instead of a pipe organ.

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              #7
              I agree on E Power Biggs for Bach. However, my "one and only CD on a desert island" is the Todd Wilson recording of Durufle'.

              http://www.amazon.com/Durufl%C3%A9-O...5339007&sr=1-1

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                #8
                Thank you for the suggestions, everyone. That Todd Wilson Durufle thing sounds especially exciting. That's a sound I've never heard before.

                As to Hammond stuff, my all-time favorite album is Barbara Dennerlein - In a Silent Mood. Not at all like the old-school funky Hammond. It's solo organ, very contemplative music, with Barbara's organ also being MIDI'd to a variety of sounds. You hear Hammond throughout, but she'll also play strings or synth in the left hand for effect. Very creative stuff.

                http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Mood-Ba...6023394&sr=8-1

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                  #9

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by jdb View Post
                    However, my "one and only CD on a desert island" is the Todd Wilson recording of Durufle'.

                    http://www.amazon.com/Durufl%C3%A9-O...5339007&sr=1-1
                    A fine recording, to be sure! But if you like that, be sure and check out Olivier Latry's Durufle. It has become for me, the definitive Durufle.

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                      #11
                      A couple choices:
                      1. The CD available from OHS which combines the 1956 recordings of Robert Elmore on the Midmer-Losh in Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, and the Kimball in its ballroom.
                      2. The Virgil Fox recording of his 1962 concert at Lincoln Center on the then-new Aeolian-Skinner. Worth it just for his performance of the Grand Piece Symphonique, which many of us think incomparable although, of necessity, he totally ignored Franck's registrations.
                      3. Marcel Dupre's 1957 recording at St Thomas Episcopal, NYC. Some of my colleagues fault his performance, but in any event this is a superb recording of a spectacular, landmark organ (also an Aeolian-Skinner) that was radically altered (butchered?) less than ten years later.
                      4. Anything with Lenny Dee (ONLY KIDDING!)

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