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Nordic Journey – Volume IV – Modern Masters
(MP3 Album)
James D. Hicks

In this fourth CD in the Nordic Journey series, American organist James D. Hicks records a program of contemporary organ music from 20th and 21st century composers from the Nordic nations.  The organ is the 1898 Åkerman and Lund organ, restored in 1898 by Harrison and Harrison, and most recently in 2009 by Åkerman and Lund, in the Cathedral of Våsteräs, Sweden.

Downloadable MP3 Album.
Audio Quality:  320 kbps

Also available on Compact Disc.


Product Description


Format: Downloadable MP3 Album.
Audio Quality:  320 kbps

Catalog Number:  CD 7264
Length: 78’ 39”
Organ: Åkerman and Lund, 1898, 2009
Venue: Våsteräs Cathedral, Våsteräs, Sweden
Recorded: 08/28/2013
Released: 07/03/2014
Producer: Frederick Hohman

© Copyright 2014 Zarex Corporation.

Also available on Compact Disc.

-from May/June 2015 American Record Guide (review by Robert Delcamp)

This is the fourth and final volume of Hicks’s survey of organ music from the Nordic countries. It contains works from the modern era including two from the 20th century and five written in the last ten years. He plays on the four-manual 1898 Akerman and Lund organ in the cathedral of Västerås, Sweden. Restored in 2009, it is a powerful and colorful instrument with several high-pressure stops.

Hicks plays with easy assurance in this interesting program. Wiklander’s Toccata is a liturgical piece using chant themes for Easter Sunday. Elegi is atmospheric and shows off the varied tonal palette of the organ. The three works by Sixten are uneven in quality. The Passacaglia is long, bombastic, and not very interesting. The Canticle of the Sun, based on St. Francis of Assisi, is for organ and two sopranos. It is technically demanding for both the voices and organ, and the lack of clear diction and the angular and harsh vocal style are not attractive. The text is supplied. The Lamentation is the most original and effective piece.

The high point is the symphony by Kjell Karlsen. It is based on a Norwegian folk ballad from the 1840s called “The Dream Song”. It is the story of a man who falls asleep on Christmas Eve and sleeps through all 12 days of Christmas. He has a dream about a pilgrimage along the path trodden by the dead. He beholds Hell, Purgatory, Paradise and witnesses the Day of Judgement. The four programatic movements that trace his journey are intense, colorful, and original. Of special note are the ghostly Scherzo and the exciting Finale, which portrays Christ, St. Michael, and the Angels in battle with the Devil.

Hicks is to be commended for a truly outstanding series that makes previously unknown repertoire available in fine performances on excellent instruments.



Hicks presents a treasure-trove of music which should certainly be of great interest to organist, both for liturgical and concert use, and usefully gives edition details with the sleeve notes. … The recordings have a huge dynamic range … The recorded sound is excellent, as are the sleeve notes by Hucks – these recordings simply must be heard. – Douglas Hollick

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