German composer Andreas Willscher has (say the Press notes, we won’t claim expertise) won many awards for his compositions, which range from symphonic forms and oratorio to cabaret jazz and rock.
Organ Symphony No.5 is on a grand scale but mostly peaceful and meditative; in the sleeve notes the composer said it was subtitled “of Francis’s preaching on holy poverty” and the sound combines peaceful meditation with something of the glory of God clearly felt by a man like St Francis of Assisi.
To call Carson Cooman prolific would be like calling Michael Jackson a bit famous; we seem to get CDs of him every week and this one has, alas, been missed and thus neglected for a couple of months, which is a shame. We first played it through while looking up facts from World War One, and its quiet, sparse feel suited the sombre mood any research into the slaughter in the trenches always brings.
The opening section is quiet but the second movement louder and rather grander and fanfare-like, the composer trying to get the sound of bagpipes, according to the sleeve notes. The quieter third and fifth movements introduce Gregorian themes and melodies, and while there are some comparatively livelier moments, by the seventh movement, it’s gone very quiet. Stretches such as this movement are the most interesting, and, as with some other sections, a most un-organ-like sound is produced: in places, it sounds more electronic than organ, particularly in the final section, the end where the long notes make it appear as if the CD has stuck. Before that it almost closes stirringly, with a toccata, and a loudly tranquil fugato. An album well suited to moments of contemplation.
Out now on Divine Art, DDA 25150