Stephen Farr - Bingham Everlasting Crown - Audiophile Audition
13 June 2012Audiophile Audition
Another five-star organ release from Resonus. I'll start right away
by drawing attention to the playing time if you are reading this far -
have no fear, the recording is priced accordingly.
Judith Bingham's "The Everlasting Crown" was premièred during
London's BBC Promenade Concerts of 2011. On 17 July, Stephen Farr gave a
recital on the organ in the Royal Albert Hall, a programme of some
variety which included Alain: Litanies, Liszt: Prelude Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (arr. Winterberger), JS Bach: Chorale Prelude ‘Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott', BWV 721, and the piece recorded here, Judith Bingham: The Everlasting Crown.
Paul Serotsky described Bingham's music as "compromisingly modern" and The Everlasting Crown
continues in that vein, 21st-century without frightening the horses.
The colours and textures produced in this seven-movement work inspired
by, amongst other things, the iridescence of precious stones, the
history, myth and fact behind them, and that, unlike us, age does not
wither them. Modern, sounding quite a challenge to perform, it is
nonetheless sufficiently approachable unless music for pipe organ is
anathema for you, in which case you certainly won't be reading this
far. However, that aside, it may well take several auditions to
appreciate what Judith Bingham has achieved, as it should with all but
the most superficial of writing.
Recorded on the Harrison & Harrison instrument which Peter
Hurford and the late Ralph Downes designed for St Alban's Abbey in 1962,
both instrument and acoustic combine with Stephen Farr at the console
to allow the biggest sounds the space and the intimate sections the
clarity they need. The instrument is in top condition, too, having been
restored recently. The sound quality of Adam Binks' recording is quite
first-class, the stereo-only 24 bit option again chosen for audition.
The excellent booklet has an introduction by the composer (who
attended the recording session), as well as an extensive essay by Andrew
Stewart about the music, full organ specifications and photographs.
Superb production values all round.
Related LinksStephen FarrJudith Bingham: The Everlasting Crown