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Nordic Journey – Volume IV – Modern Masters
(Audio CD)
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.

Released as a Digital Audio Compact Disc.

This album and its tracks are available digitally from the following streaming and download sources:
One must be subscribed and logged-in at Naxos Music Library for the Naxos link to work.



353 in stock


Format: Digital Audio CD
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
Notes Author: James D. Hicks
Notes Language:    English
Graphics Format: 12pp booklet, traycard, jewelbox
UPC #: 636077726422

© Copyright 2014 Zarex Corporation.

This album and its tracks are available digitally from the following streaming and download sources:
One must be subscribed and logged-in at Naxos Music Library for the Naxos link to work.

James D. Hicks holds degrees in music from the Peabody Institute of Music of Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, and the University of Cincinnati. He has also studied at the Royal School of Church Music and is an associate of the American Guild of Organists. Dr. Hicks was appointed Director of Music at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown in 1985, and conducted nine of the church’s vocal and handbell choirs, and he also supervised and performd in the concert series, taught classes in music and liturgy, and served as organist. He oversaw the enhancement of the sanctuary’s seventy-eight ranks, 3,370 pipes Austin organ in 1996, and recorded a compact disk of organ music by twentieth-century American composers released by the Pro Organo label in 2003. James D. Hicks is a composer of organ, piano, choral, and handbell music, and has performed as an organ recitalist throughout the US, Europe, and Australia. Now retired from his role as church musician, today he makes his career solely as a touring organ recitalist. Dr. Hicks is a competing bagpiper and collector of Celtic instruments, and makes his home base in Morristown, New Jersey.. Since 2010, Dr. Hicks has delved into the largely obscure area of Nordic organ music, where he has become known as a leader in the renaissance of organ music from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to commissioning new organ music from rising young Nordic composers, he is now touring regularly in Scandinavia and in America, where he is bringing Nordic organ music to recognition. He recorded 4 volumes in a series entitled Nordic Journey, where premiere recordings of many Nordic organ works are found.

01 • Toccata Över Päsdagens Introitus, Op 3:1 (1983) • Kurt Wiklander • 6’18”
02 • Toccata Primi Toni, Op 11 (1951) • Einar Traerup Sark • 3’47”
03 • Canticle of the Sun (2011) • Fredrik Sixten • 13’28”
04 • Lamentation for Organ (2012) • Fredrik Sixten • 7’51”
05 • Passacaglia for Organ (2011) • Fredrik Sixten • 14’56”
06 • Elegi from Suite for Organ, Op 35 (2008) • Kurt Wiklander • 4’36”
07 • Orgelsymfoni No 4: Sinfonia Norvegica, Op 157 (2008) I. Preludium • Kjell Mork Karlsen • 9’32”
08 • Orgelsymfoni No 4: Sinfonia Norvegica, Op 157 (2008) II. Cappriccio • Kjell Mork Karlsen • 6’33”
09 • Orgelsymfoni No 4: Sinfonia Norvegica, Op 157 (2008) III. Scherzo • Kjell Mork Karlsen • 5’14”
10 • Orgelsymfoni No 4: Sinfonia Norvegica, Op 157 (2008) IV. Finale • Kjell Mork Karlsen • 6’51”

-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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