The Usher Hall Organ Vol II

The Usher Hall’s monumental organ celebrated its 100th birthday in 2014. Delphian artist and Edinburgh City Organist John Kitchen has established a hugely popular series of concerts at the Hall, and draws on its repertoire to follow up his 2004 recording of the then newly restored instrument with a programme that further represents the vast variety of music that draws in the Edinburgh crowds.

Opening with an evocative new work by Cecilia McDowall, the first part of the programme resounds with the theme of bells (including the instrument’s extraordinary carillon). Jeremy Cull’s compelling transcription of Hamish MacCunn’s The Land of the Mountain and the Flood displays all of Kitchen’s virtuosic aplomb, while the Dance Variations on ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’ are a much delighted-in annual request. A recital of this nature wouldn’t be complete without a major piece of Bach, here dispatched with appropriately Edwardian swagger.

"Kitchen has established himself, through his wildly eclectic programming, as a latter-day WT Best. The tracklist of his latest solo disc swings fearlessly between the vintage integrity of Bach’s epic Passacaglia and Fugue... to a lighter extreme...If some of that sounds a tad cheesy, be assured, Kitchen never sinks beneath the bounds of good taste."


"There is a great deal of fun to be had, together with testimony to the fact that Kitchen has a multifaceted talent to go with his sense of humour...[the Widor and Bach] reveal a striking virtuosity coupled with consummate control of the organ’s palette of colour."

"This is a superb recital that explores a wide-range of music. Kitchen has presented a number of new works — possibly to become new favourites? — and some well-established masterpieces. He brings huge flair, understanding, characteristic humour and an intimate knowledge of organ registration and repertoire to this disc."

"Kitchen despatches each and all with performances that blend aesthetic nuance with bravura showmanship…Delphian’s vivid record sound adds to the considerable pleasure."

"It helps that Kitchen has the innate musical ability to switch between these diverse idioms with great ease"

"Dazzling playing; great fun."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Release Date: 12 January 2015
Catalogue No: DCD34132
Total playing time: 1:18:27

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