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John Wells plays the Auckland Town Hall Organ

ACD641
£14.99

Details

This landmark album by Auckland City Organist, John Wells, was the first solo recording featuring as the "star performer" the newly refurbished Auckland Town Hall Organ.  Lovingly rebuilt by Philipp Klais and his team, the organ sits as centre piece in the magnificent Auckland Town Hall and attracts many notable international organists to the Southern Pacific outpost of New Zealand. Wells has cleverly chosen the repertoire around the organ itself, displaying the diversity of colours, styles and responses that are all so effortlessly rendered by both performer and instrument.  At the heart of the album is the "Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen " written by Franz Liszt for his daughter and a well conceived choice for the 200th anniversary(2011) of his birth.  All works on this album are superbly rendered by Wells, but it is possibly his own composition, "Kokako Fanfare & March" which displays the truly unique quality of the instrument and it's New Zealand flavour by incorporating the "Maori stops".  Based on the sounds of indigenous Maori instruments or "taonga puoro - singing treasures", Wells employs the use of "pukaea"(the emense Maori trumpet) and the "koauau" (a family of flutes made from bone, wood or pounamu (New Zealand Jade)) stops, found in the refurbished instrument and bringing to life the sounds of nature in the isolated Pacific Eden.   This recording is dedicated to the memory of Neil Stocker, Scott Lucy and Paul Dunlop, organ builders who died in the Christchurch earthquake of February 2011.

John Wells plays the Auckland Town Hall Organ

Reviews

"I have to declare a degree of bias here: as an Aucklander I have a great affection for our wonderful Town Hall, designed after the old Leipzig Gewandhaus, and it's been a particular thrill to see and hear the Town Hall organ, which has been lovingly rebuilt by Philipp Klais and his team. For this recital, the Auckland City Organist, John Wells, has chosen a varied collection of works designed to demonstrate a few of the different styles that can be performed to advantage on this magnificent instrument. In John Wells' own work here, he is perhaps less concerned with evoking the mournful character of the kokako’s call than with demonstrating the special qualities of the Koauau and Pukaea stops. Among the 20th-century pieces, I was particularly taken with the American composer Leo Sowerby's Air with Variations. I hadn’t come across Sowerby before, but I was immediately attracted by his understated brand of impressionism. The centrepiece work by Liszt, written in memory of his eldest daughter who died in childbirth, was chosen partly because 2011 is the 200th anniversary of his birth. John Wells performs brilliantly throughout this recital in a bewildering range of styles, reflecting his own broad tastes and, on occasion, his lively sense of humour. The excellent engineering is by Radio New Zealand's Adrian Hollay, and this CD makes a perfect introduction to the capabilities of the instrument" (Robert Johnson)