Erik Simmons: Jubilee, Carson Cooman organ music vol. 10

review cooman jubilee x1 cong

Carson Cooman makes Neil Young look a slacker, and many of Young’s albums are from the vaults, not new. Cooman is composer in residence at the Memorial Church, Harvard University, and a prolific composer, the recordings often played by Erik Simmons — this is his 10th Cooman organ album for Divine Art.

This latest collection is liturgical in tone and slow, but not sombre. More of a sense of peace, and almost majestic in places.

Though it is liturgical, it doesn’t really have much of the pew about it. Slower organ albums often put one in mind of being in church, and the smell that churches have, all polish and waxed wood, but not this. It’s as much ambient as it is church; admittedly the power of the organ does not lend itself to ambience in the sense of chill-out electronic music, but it’s still a calming programme, albeit with some louder sections.

Cooman provides sleeve notes that give the gist of each piece; with respect to him, his productivity presumably means he produces music to be played and listened to, rather than spending hours crafting every note to impart a higher meaning. Press play, listen, stop. There are no real standouts — though the prelude of Suite in G is good — but it’s a nice collection of music.

Simmons plays the “Sun Organ” of St Peter and Paul, Görlitz, recorded through the Hauptwerk system, you organ buffs might like to know.

This is out on Divine Art, DDA 25185

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