Special Offer: Three Organ Recitals


Organ Works: Liszt, Reubke, Mendelssohn (CD/SACD hybrid)

The King of Instruments: A Voice Reborn (CD/SACD hybrid)

Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur (CD)

Special offer until 21 September 2020

SKU: Special-Offer-20200914

Organ Works: Liszt, Reubke, Mendelssohn

This album brings together the first ever surround sound recordings of the great Harrison & Harrison organ set within the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. Performing three popular virtuosic works for the organ, Stephen Cleobury, Director of Music at King’s College, demonstrates the power and flexibility of this great instrument.

The recording begins with Liszt’s dark-hued Fantasy and Fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”, S.259, which is based on a theme from Act 1 of Meyerbeer’s grand opera Le Prophète. The piece lasts almost 30 minutes and is in three sections: the Fantasy, Adagio and Fugue.

Julius Reubke’s magnificent Organ Sonata on the 94th Psalm explores the theme of judgement. Considered one of the pinnacles of Romantic repertoire, and thought to have been inspired by Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue, this piece is a test of both the organ’s versatility and the player’s pedal technique. The album concludes with Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata No. 6 in D minor. Based on Bach’s chorale Vater unser im Himmelreich, this piece demonstrates Mendelssohn’s consummate mastery of organ textures.

Originally built in the 19th century to replace an earlier instrument, the organ has been modernised several times and underwent major renovation in 2016.

**** “A rousing and inspiring performance” – Audiophile Audition

“Outstanding performances by a great musician” – Gramophone Magazine

The King of Instruments: A Voice Reborn

This new recording from King’s College Chapel celebrates a voice reborn: the first surround-sound recording of the famous Harrison & Harrison organ since its once-in-a-generation restoration in 2016. A varied programme of music from Bach to Franck and a newly recorded work by George Baker demonstrates the restored organ in all its glory played by Stephen Cleobury and recorded in high definition and 5.1 surround-sound. The accompanying booklet features some of the best images from the restoration project, a short history of the organ, and comprehensive music notes.

To celebrate the refurbishment of the Harrison & Harrison organ at King’s, Cambridge, the college’s musical director presents a captivating sequence centred on Bach. Six of his chorale preludes are highly absorbing, not least because Cleobury finds a different registration for each. Franck’s Pièce héroïque mines a deep shaft of basso sonority that contrasts with the prevailing textural delicacy, and indeed deliciousness, of the Bach and a Mendelssohn sonata. The effect is magnificent.

The Sunday Times

The Harrison & Harrison organ in King’s College Chapel is, like the College Choir, famous the world over. The organ case with gilded pipework, which surmounts the 16th century screen, is a striking feature of nearly every depiction of the interior of the Chapel, while the instantly recognisable sounds of the instrument have become inextricably associated with those of the Choir.

In January 2016, the instrument – including its 4,300 pipes – was removed from King’s College Chapel for the most significant restoration since the 1960s. Just nine months later, the project was completed, with the famous organ secured for future generations.

Recorded just a few months after the restored organ was heard in public once more, this album celebrates a voice reborn, with a varied programme of music that shows off this magnificent instrument at its very best.

Unusually for such a busy conductor, Cleobury has remained active as an organist. A former president of the Royal College of Organists, he gives regular performances in the weekly recitals at the King’s Chapel, while his recordings have been championed for their virtuosity and musical insight.

“In celebration of this once-in-a-generation restoration, I have chosen a programme of music that makes the most of the instrument’s size, versatility, and the range of subtle colour that it can offer. The six Bach chorale preludes present six different registrations, and are placed on either side of the three substantial romantic works that allow for the full range of the organ to be heard. I am particularly pleased to include the contemporary works by Simon Preston and George Baker – the latter of which is recorded here for the first time.” – Stephen Cleobury

Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur

From the work’s quiet beginnings through to the magnificent and magisterial final part, this is deeply impressive organ-playing, with Kings College’s atmospheric sound expertly captured.
Editor’s Pick. Gramophone Magazine

Gowers produces a persistently altering range of sound, all in the service of the music rather than the player. And for essential clarity of performance – every note audible and distinct, despite that famous acoustic – it would be hard to ask for more. A noble, and moving, achievement.
Catholic Herald

The intimacy and illumination of Gowers’ reading has brought this piece to life in ways I scarcely thought possible. A remarkably perceptive and profoundly moving performance; superlative sound, too.
Recording of the Month. MusicWeb International

Nine extraordinary meditations by one of the twentieth century’s musical titans, performed on the magnificent King’s College Chapel organ by former organ scholar Richard Gowers.

Written in 1935, La Nativité du Seigneur is one of Messiaen’s most popular organ works, and a piece that helped to establish the then 27 year-old as an important figure in contemporary music. Premiered in February 1936 at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris, where Messiaen was organist for more than sixty years, the debut performance was shared between three of his close friends; with Daniel-Lesur, Jean Langlais and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald each tackling three movements.

A testament to Messiaen’s devout Catholicism, each movement follows a portion of the Christmas story, from the Virgin Birth
to Epiphany, with the number of movements symbolic of the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Significantly, the work contains early examples of Messiaen’s signature compositional elements, such as birdsong, rhythmic inspiration from Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions, and the ‘modes of limited transportation’, which he would later publish in La technique de mon langage musical.

Born in 1994, Richard Gowers is a British organist, pianist and conductor. After becoming a prize-winning Fellow of the
Royal College of Organists at the age of 17, he won first prize at the 2013 Northern Ireland International Organ Competition and studied at the Mendelssohn Conservatoire in Leipzig. From 2014 to 2017 he held the distinguished position of organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and in September 2017 he became Chapel Choir Organist at the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban. His career as a concert organist has seen him perform in prestigious venues around the world, including Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Organ Works: Liszt, Reubke, Mendelssohn

Fantasy and Fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”, S.259
1 i. Moderato – Allegro – Vivace 09:50 Lizst, Franz
2 ii. Adagio 08:34 Lizst, Franz
3 iii. Allegro deciso – Fuga (Allegretto con moto) 11:19 Lizst, Franz
Sonata No 6 in D Minor (Op 65, No 6)
4 i. Choral – Andante sostenuto – Allegro molto 08:53 Mendelssohn, Felix
5 ii. Fuga 02:45 Mendelssohn, Felix
6 iii. Finale: Andante 02:47 Mendelssohn, Felix
Sonata on the 94th Psalm in C minor
7 i. Grave – Larghetto – Allegro con fuoco – Grave 11:45 Reubke, Julius
8 ii. Adagio – Lento 06:10 Reubke, Julius
9 iii. (Fugue) Allegro 07:13 Reubke, Julius
Total playing time – 69:16

The King of Instruments: A Voice Reborn

1 Alleluyas Preston, Simon  05:19
Preludes from Das Clavierübung III Bach, Johann Sebastian
2 Wir glauben all’ an einen Go (BWV 680) 03:33
3 Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam (BWV 684) 04:35
4 Kyrie, Go , heiliger Geist (BWV 671) 04:16
Organ Sonata, Op. 65, No. 1 in F minor Mendelssohn, Felix
5 I. Allegro moderato e serioso 05:28
6 II. Adagio 03:01
7 III. Andante recitativo 02:50
8 IV. Allegro assai 03:46
9 Resurgam Grace, Harvey 08:22
10 Pièce héroïque (M 37) Franck, César 08:53
Preludes from Das Orgelbüchlein Bach, Johann Sebastian
11 In dir ist Freude (BWV 615) 02:42
12 O Mensch, bewein’, dein’ Sünde groß (BWV 622) 05:14
13 Heut’ triumphiret Go es Sohn (BWV 630) 01:26
14 Procession Royale [World Premiere Recording] Baker, George 04:12
Total playing time – 63:37

Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur

La Nativité du Seigneur Messiaen, Olivier
1 I La Vierge et l’enfant 6:55
2 II Les bergers 7:11
3 III Desseins éternels 6:51
4 IV Le Verbe 16:20
5 V Les enfants de Dieu 3:59
6 VI Les anges 3:42
7 VII Jésus accepte la souffrance 5:14
8 VIII Les mages 7:56
9 IX Dieu parmi nous 9:32
Total playing time – 67:40

Organ Works: Liszt, Reubke, Mendelssohn
Sir Stephen Cleobury

The King of Instruments: A Voice Reborn
Sir Stephen Cleobury

Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur
Richard Gowers

Organ Works: Liszt, Reubke, Mendelssohn

Recorded at 96kHz 24-bit PCM 5.1 surround-sound in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows, 21-23 May 2013.

Producer & Editor  Simon Kiln
Recording Engineer  Jonathan Allen
Technical Engineer  Richard Hale
SACD Mastering Engineer  Andrew Walter


The King of Instruments: A Voice Reborn

Recorded at 192kHz 24-bit PCM 5.1 surround-sound in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows, 16-17 January 2017.

Producer, Editor & CD mastering  Simon Kiln
Recording & Mixing Engineer  Arne Akselberg
Assistant Engineer  Can Aykal
SACD Mastering Engineer  Simon Gibson


Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur

Recorded at 192kHz 24-bit PCM stereo in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows, 17-18 July 2017.

Producer & Editor  Benjamin Sheen
Engineering, Mixing & Mastering  Benjamin Sheen