22.7 C
New York
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Organ Polychrome — The French School [Jan Kraybill] High-Resolution DVD-R Review


The Album


In her debut recital for Reference Recordings, organist Jan Kraybill takes on a new instrument, the Julia Irene Kaufmann Organ at the Kaufmann Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Ms. Kaufmann is Principal Organist for the Dome and Spire Organ Foundation and Organ Conservator at the Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts. With such credentials, her recitals would be highly anticipated events and this HRx hi-res disc proves to be no exception.

This program features a collection of organ works from the Neo-Renaissance of French organ music that encompassed the first half of the 20th century, the exceptions being the late 19th century contributions by Cesar Franck and Felix-Alexandre Guilmant. Ms. Kraybill’s adventurous program dives right in with Charles-Marie Widor’s Symphony No. 6, one of many of this composer’s works that extends the limits of the organ’s range. The playlist follows:

  • Charles-Marie Widor: Allegro from Symphony No. 6: (8:57)
  • Florent Schmitt: Priere: (2:54)
  • Jehan Alain: Deux danses a Agni Yavishta:   (5:14)
  • Joseph Bonnet: Variations de Concert  (8:46)
  • Maurice Durufle: Prelude et Gigue in G minor  (7:01)
  • Cesar Franck: Piece heroique:  (10:19)
  • Felix-Alexandre Guilmant: Caprice in B-flat major (5:40)
  • Louis Vierne: Pieces de fantaisie: (9:24)
  • Eugene Gigout: Grand choeur dialogue: (6:07

This is organ playing at its finest and Ms. Kraybill is blessed with a most wonderful instrument. The French school of organ composition is well represented by some of its finest exponents, a number of whom were organists themselves. Of note, the organ in these performances, the Casavant Freres Opus 3875 would have been the ideal instrument for these works and is well exploited in this recital.

Audio Quality


The Keith Johnson recording team takes advantage of the Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts’ Helzberg Hall for this production. The sonorities of this venue are ideal for organ recordings and we are immersed in the sonic waves of this magnificent specimen. It is unlikely, indeed, that the composers themselves heard their works as well represented as what we get here, harmonics, overtones, and all. From top to bottom, Ms. Kraybill’s performance gets the “star” treatment and this is one recording that is quite faithful to this organ’s sonorities.

Supplemental Materials


Organist Kraybill contributes some insightful notes on each composer and selection. The program booklet also details recording and production credits for this disc.

The Definitive Word



I cannot think of a better way to introduce listeners to what was surely the golden age of French music for the organ. Perhaps not since Johann Sebastian Bach, has this “king of instruments” been better served by one nation and its composers than has France and its illustrious composers who wrote marvelous pieces for the organ. Of course, it takes an extraordinary artist to get this point across, and I am happy to report that Reference Recordings has surely identified such a performer. Coupled with the expected excellent RR sonics, Organ Polychrome I would recommend this disc for not only lovers of organ music but of great music, period.



Related Articles

Join the Discussion on TheaterByte!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment "screeners" and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles