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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Frederik Magle's Tradition in Modernity: the Classic Art of Organ Improvisation on "Like A Flame"

Improvisation of course did not originate with the coming of jazz. In the realm of classical organ music, for example, there is a tradition of improvisation that has Johann Sebastian Bach as its most illustrious practitioner. In more recent times the school that includes Franck, Vierne, Widor, Tournemire, Dupre and the Alains made good use of the sonic possibilities of the modern cathedral organ and conceived of the results symphonically.

The young Frederik Magle has absorbed the tradition and in the persuasively rich 2-CD recital Like A Flame (Proprius 2061) gives us back his modern version of it. I will deflate any rhetorical suspense I might build up and say here that the results are something any aficionado of organ music will find delightful. His improvisations are varied, inventive and sonically powerful. The recording has excellent sound qualities as well.

It makes me want to hear his compositional work. Highly recommended!

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