The Mighty Ruffatti Organ


There's a special joy in listening to a recording of an instrument one knows well. Revisiting Telarc's excellent recording of the same Ruffatti organ I've heard many times in San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, it's especially gratifying to discover that at least one company knew how to achieve great sound from digital technology that, still in its infancy when the recording was made in 1984, rarely delivered "perfect sound forever." The eight works by J.S. Bach on the release by Michael Murray & Ruffatti Organ In Davies Symphony Hall titled A Recital Of Works By Bach, Messiaen, Dupre, Widor & Franck are a joy to hear.

Bach's music is so ubiquitous these days -- witness the recent Billboard chart-topping Telarc recordings of his music from Simone Dinnerstein and Zuill Bailey -- that we sometimes forget just how fresh it can be. Expertly performed by Murray, who thunders away with all the power and glory at his disposal, the music is splendid.

The impact of Messiaen's astounding Dieu Parmi Nous suggests that the composer was in touch with something far greater than himself when he wrote the work. I'll let you decide where in the pantheon of greatness Franck's Final in B-flat, Op. 21 and Widor's Adagio from his Symphony No. 6 belong. Beyond question, the scampering opening of Dupre's Prelude and Fugue in G minor is hard to resist, especially in this version. And the centerpiece of the program, Murray's wonderfully played Bach, is glorious.

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