The Usher Hall Organ

The first ever recording of the newly refurbished Norman & Beard concert organ in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, from internationally acclaimed organist John Kitchen. In an eclectic selection of repertoire demonstrating the instrument’s sonic versatility and brilliance of tone, Kitchen ranges from transcriptions of popular orchestral works to the tortured ‘Weinen, Klagen’ of Franz Liszt.

"Kitchen leaves no stone unturned in his search for colour, and reveals how close this type of instrument is to its cousin, the theatre organ. The Walton Popular Song and Hollins Triumphal March see the organ in its natural habitat and Kitchen's playing is instinctive and full of pizzazz."


"Alfred Hollins’s Triumphal March. Elgar’s Nimrod and marches by Handel are atmospherically rendered, and real expressive depth achieved in Bach’s monumental St Anne Fugue and Liszt’s Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen. Arrangements of Walton’s Popular Song (from Façade) and Orb and Sceptre march are delightfully contrasted."


"Built in 1914, the monumental organ in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh has been restored to its former Edwardian glory. City Organist John Kitchen celebrates the aesthetic of that period. Three Handel marches are delivered in grand style, with irrepressible brio. Kitchen brings rhythmic swagger and élan to Hollins’ Triumphal March (complete with carillon), Walton’s Orb and Sceptre and Bach’s “St Anne” Prelude and Fugue."

"this is a disc displaying this Edinburgh organ at its most versatile and colourful. The music ranges from pure organ repertoire – a Bach prelude and fugue, Liszt’s emotive variations on Weiner, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen and Aberdonian Geoffrey Atkinson’s juicy suite on Scottish folk tunes – to cosy transcriptions of Handel, Elgar, Holst and even William Walton’s Popular song. Good fun."

"Edinburgh’s city organist has devised a programme to impress and entertain and succeeds triumphantly...Kitchen revels in a wide range of instrumental effects and even makes the mighty instrument sound as dainty as a music box."


"John Kitchen finds a more regal character from The Usher Hall Organ in Edinburgh. Supported by a splendidly vivid recording, he revels in Walton’s jazzy rhythms. Altogether this is a thoroughly enjoyable disc and the programme, ranging from Bach’s E flat Prelude and Fugue (BWV552) to three delightful Scottish folk melody arrangements by Geoffrey Atkinson provides a source of endless delight."

"this is a great CD and deserves to be popular with organ ‘buffs’ and those lesser mortals who simply enjoy a good selection of tunes, brilliantly played on a magnificent instrument."

"Kitchen goes large with Bach's 'St Anne' Prelude and Fugue, capping it with admirably gutsy registrations in the genuine, full-blown Romanticism of Liszt's 'Weinen, Klagen' Variations. Geoffrey Atkinson's Little Liturgical Suite on Scottish folk melodies, which deservedly won the W. Baird Ross Trust competition prize in 1999, provides local colour and a chance for Kitchen to demonstrate the organ's capacity of délicatesse.   The acoustics are dry; the playing, anything but."

Release Date: 27 Apr 2009
Catalogue No: DCD34022
Total playing time: 1:18:08

Recorded on 21 January 2004 at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Producer & Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital mastering (remastered in 2009): Paul Baxter

Design: Drew Padrutt
Booklet editor: John Fallas
Cover Image: David Moir (courtesy Scotsman Publications Ltd)
Photography: Raymond Parks

Album Booklet

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