The Chronicle

We reviewed a church organ album the other week, and just couldn’t be doing with it. Very discordant and unsettling.

This, on the other hand, is very different and we’ve been playing it over and over all week.

If you told us a while ago that we’d be moaning about pop bands and praising church organ music, we’d have thought you were giddy.

Unlike the discordant one from the other week, this is quiet and gentle, though it does boom out in places. It’s most definitely organ geared towards a more modern audience, with plenty of variations and even playfulness.

The opener Prelude and Fugue No. 1, Op. 913 opens quite perkily but then turns into a more traditional fugue.

Track two Prelude and Fugue No. 2, Op. 1021 is intellectually playful. Written for two girls, Lydia and Emily (the daughters of organist Simmons), the first part uses Lydia as a theme and is written in Lydian mode (which as you all know, is a rising pattern of pitches comprising three whole tones, a semitone, two more whole tones, and a final semitone, and pitches roughly describes the fifth of the eight Gregorian [church] modes). You can see why we say we feel inadequate reviewing this stuff.

Still, you can get all the clever bits from the sleeve notes. To listen to, it’s gentle and ranges in sound from the more somber end of the church music spectrum to rather jolly music that could be played at a wedding. It’s an enjoyable CD, so what more do you want?

—Jeremy Condliffe