Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini / Poulenc: Organ Concerto

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini / Poulenc: Organ Concerto cover
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Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini / Poulenc: Organ Concerto
Cameron Carpenter (International touring organ) / Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christoph Eschenbach

[ Sony Classical / CD / CD ]

Release Date: Sunday 29 March 2020

"Cameron Carpenter (1981- ) is a spectacular musician and showman. But don't let his showmanship fool you. He is a brilliant and disciplined musician and arranger and belongs to a tradition of flashy virtuosos. He is also not the first organist to have and use a portable organ either. Prior to Carpenter people "of a certain age" (your reviewer qualifies) may remember one Virgil Fox (1912-1980) whose musicianship and showmanship delighted audiences of an earlier era. He too sometimes worked with a portable organ. In fact he did a show at, of all venues, The Fillmore East with his Rodgers Touring Organ. This storied home to late 60s rock and rollers included a light show with Fox's performance of Bach et al.

Another keyboard genius who took on a little flash at one time is Anthony Newman (1941- ) whose enthusiastic and authoritative presentations opened a whole new generation to music of Bach and others as well as introducing them to the organ and harpsichord. Newman, also a composer of note continues to be a valued concert performer and interested listeners are encouraged to check out his website for more details about this man's recordings and compositions.

One can't look at Carpenter with his mod haircuts and stylish clothing without thinking of another wonderful flashy virtuoso, Nigel Kennedy (1956- ), a wonderful violinist with a powerful style and stage presence. Once again the presence belies the genius just beneath the flash...

All this is just to put Mr. Carpenter in context (as much for myself as my readers). So on to the main purpose of this review, the disc. I don't know off hand how many discs he has released so far but this one is a fine place to start if you don't already know this musician's work. It includes his work as organist solo and with orchestra, and as arranger in the opening work, Rachmaninoff's wonderful Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1943). Originally, of course, the work is for Piano and Orchestra and is a piano concerto in all but name. (And the disc is indexed so you can choose each variation separately if you wish.)" - NewMusicBuff


Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Poulenc: Concerto in G minor for Organ, Strings & Timpani

Vierne, L: Organ Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 14: Final

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43: Variation XVIII - Andante cantabile