Exordium: Organ Music by Carson Cooman


Catalogue No: DDA 25154
EAN/UPC: 809730515422
Release Date: July 2017
Genres: ,
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 77:03

Carson Cooman is many things musical – organist and Composer in Residence at the Memorial Church, Harvard University; writer, critic and consultant, concert organist, and above all a highly prolific composer of music in a wide variety of genres, from orchestral to song.

His organ compositions come in many styles, from those inspired by the Renaissance, to liturgical models, to more gritty and substantial pieces such as his organ symphonies and preludes and fugues. The music here, tonal and accessible though never lacking in complex chromaticism, was all written either as a commission, or dedicated to a person who has known, worked with, or inspired the composer. Some works are overtly liturgical and all are endowed with a deep spirituality.

Erik Simmons is a fine organist, making his fifth Cooman organ album for Divine Art. He is playing the organ of the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Saint-Omer, France (built 1855) in a live performance recorded through the Hauptwerk system.

Track Listing

Carson Cooman

    1. Exordium
    2. Romanza
    3. Little Partita on a Polish Carol
    4. Cortège
    5. Sketch No. 1
    6. Refrains

A Czech Liturgical Year

    1. I. Advent: Gaudeamus Partitur
    2. II. Christmas: Narodil se Kristus Pán
    3. III. Lent: Matka pláče
    4. IV. Easter: Aleluja! Živ bud’ nad smrtí
    5. V. Ordinary Time: Tisáckrát pozdravujeme tebe

Gregorian Diptych

    1. I. Invocation: Adore te devote
    2. II. Fantasy: Da pacem Domine
    3. Canto quieto
    4. Pastorale (E.M.M.)
    5. Rondino for St. Joseph

Deux petits préludes

    1. I. Prélude phrygien
    2. II. Prélude jovial

O Come: Three Hymn Fantasies

  1. I. Nettleton (Come, thou fount)
  2. II. Veni Emmanuel
  3. III. Veni Creator Spiritus



If anything I like the repertoire here even better than on [Cooman’s] previous disc. He uniformly puts his best foot forward, with felicitous results; unreservedly recommended.

” —James A. Altena
American Record Guide

As in the previous volumes the music, playing, and production are of a high standard. These pieces are mostly short, tonal, and in a pleasantly neoclassical harmonic idiom. Simmons delivers his usual excellent performances.

” —Robert Delcamp
The Whole Note

Cooman’s works are skillfully written with a contemporary harmonic sensibility that always yields to the melody. Simmons understands this and faith¬fully brings this great Baroque instrument into the service of a 21st-century composer.

” —Alex Baran
MusicWeb International

Much of the music is in [a] quiet vein, but Cooman does allow the organist to let rip, as in the opening Exordium and the Gregorian Diptych. I … cannot deny the qualities which [John France] finds in the music: ‘beautiful, inspiring and seductive in equal measure … charged with wonder, mystery and a deep sense of engagement with the world of nature and society’. I would even add ‘ethereal’. The recording… sounds very good. I enjoyed hearing it.

” —Brian Wilson
Classical Music Sentinel

Exordium, the opening piece on this CD, certainly makes for a great beginning … which pushes the organ’s and organist’s limits to their full potential. Besides the closing Veni Creator Spiritus also being a full on all-stops blazing type of piece, most of the other pieces sandwiched in between are soft, lyrical and evocative works, all great at displaying a pipe organ’s individuality and range of stops. Each and every piece on this disc has a distinct style and unique sound, unlike many other composer’s collections that bring on ear fatigue after a while.. an enriching listening experience.

” —Jean-Yves Duperron