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Format: Downloadable MP3 Track.
Audio Quality: 320 kbps
Label: PRO ORGANO
Catalog Number: CD 7288
Organ: Andover, Opus 114
Venue: Christ Lutheran Church, Baltimore, Maryland USA
Producer: Frederick Hohman
© 2018 Zarex Corporation.
ISRC #: USR9N1828806
Compact Disc album is available.
The American Organist magazine – JUNE 2020
REVIEW TEXT: “This is another top-drawer recording from one of our brightest rising stars. Indeed, ‘rising star’ may no long apply: Katelyn Emerson is already well above the horizon, shining brilliantly. One trusts that a long and unclouded day stretches before her. Inspirations is a joy to listen to, as well as a wonderful study in programming, interpretation, and registration. Artist, instrument, repertoire, and production come together in one 76-minute-long triumph.
Emerson knows how to grab your attention at the very first moment of a piece. Not every organist grasps the importance of this all-important, Zen-like instant when the silence is broken, a choice is made, the first ‘let there by light’ is spoken. With every track on this CD, one knows, immediately, that Emerson has something to say, and knows how to say it, and why.
The program opens with a recent work by Rachel Laurin, one of the most important organ composers on the current scene (see p. 20 in this issue). Finale, Op. 78, was commissioned by the Washington, D.C., AGO Foundation and premiered in 2017. (The title alludes to the cessation of the foundation – this commission was its swan song.1
Emerson opens the work – and the CD – with an arresting, thrilling plunge directly into this piece. The rush of positive energy is exhilarating. Here, as elsewhere in the program, Emerson presents us with the music itself. There are no gimmicks, no conceptual agendas to deal with. There is just the music, running joyously.
From Laurin we go to Horatio Parker, with the third movement (Allegretto) of his Organ Sonata in E-flat, Op. 65. We hear the same complete technical mastery and clean musical fidelity that we did before. This is also true of the next four tracks, which give us Rheinberger’s Eighth Sonata in E Minor, Op. 132. Again, we are instantly engaged by the opening moment: here, a roaring pedal reed.
From there, we turn to Buxtehude and de Grigny, then wrap up with 20th-century French. Just after the Buxtehude, though, we get another bit of Romanticism, the Meditation of Edward Bairstow. The CD ends with Durufle’s Opus 7 – a well-traveled virtuoso’s calling card, to which Emerson does full justice. All of the stylistic turns in the program do their part to retain our interest as well. A great job all around.
Congratulations to Pro Organo for another fine recording and to Katelyn Emerson, to whose growing stature this recording so amply attests.
1. Information on Finale taken from the composer’s notes, reproduced in the booklet accompanying the CD.”
– Jonathan B. Hall, FAGO, ChM