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David Briggs - Mahler: Symphony No. 5 (Transcribed for Organ) (1999)

21-05-2016, 13:36
Classical Music | FLAC / APE

Title: Mahler: Symphony No. 5 (Transcribed for Organ)
Year Of Release: 1999
Label: Priory
Genre: Classical
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
Total Time: 01:11:37
Total Size: 349 Mb


01. Trauermarsch 12:32
02. Strurmisch bewegt 14:15
03. Scherzo 18:10
04. Adagietto 9:34
05. Rondo - Finale: Allegro 17:05

Organ transcriptions of nineteenth century orchestral music are seldom subtle affairs, and you need only think of the ludicrous arrangements of Wagner's music on Anthony Newman's 1975 Organ Orgy album to know how misguided such attempts can be. Yet in spite of its unlikely prospects, David Briggs' reworking for organ of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor is not a vulgar travesty. Even though it has a few moments that strain credulity (if not the performer's arms and legs), this transcription essentially works as a virtuosic organ symphony. Briggs has a fine sense of Romantic registration and he employs the stops of the Gloucester Cathedral organ in rich combinations, not unlike the colors one finds in the organ works of Saint-Saens, Widor, or Vierne, and which work surprisingly well for Mahler. Of course, even with a lavish array of stops, the organ cannot reproduce the finely shaded dynamics and incisive orchestration of the symphony, and many of Mahler's wispy, swelling, throbbing, or biting sonorities are reduced to flatter and less effective timbres, or just bypassed for the sake of simplification. Yet Briggs' intentions are honorable, and he tries to simulate as much of the orchestration and original textures as possible on four manuals and pedals, and he succeeds in many ingenious passages. It takes a little time to adjust to hearing this familiar masterwork in a different guise, but once past initial misgivings over the strangeness of the Trauermarsch or the awkwardness of the Sturmisch bewegt, the listener can begin to get quite comfortable with the transformation and even accept the Scherzo and the Adagietto as well-suited to this instrument; by the Rondo-Finale, Mahler's dazzling fugal textures begin to sound as if they were conceived for organ, rather like some of Cesar Franck's most ecstatic counterpoint.--Blair Sanderson

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