Music for Organ, Brass and Timpani on Sonoma

I've been listening to this wonderful SACD in two-channel this afternoon. If you look over at Acoustic Sounds at you'll see some very mixed reviews.

Of course, if you don't like brass and organ,then don't even think about this, but if you do, this is one of the greatest examples of the genre that I've ever heard.

Anthony Newman is organist, playing a spectacular instrument at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in NY. Brass is provided by The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, including some great players like Mark Gould and Jim Pugh.

Graham Ashton did most of the arrangements.The music includes Richard Strauss' "Enty of the Knights of the Order of St. John", Handel's "Overture to Music for the Royal Fireworks", Monteverdi's "Tocata from 'Orfeo'", a little Gabrieli, a little Rachmoninov, a lot of Bach and a great transcription of Mursorgsky's "The Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition."

If you look at those reviews you'll see one or two saying there's no bass. Huh?!?! I was worried about breaking my lease. The organ and tubas rocked my room and pounded my chest. I think that someone had equipment failure, or maybe they've never heard really low, powerful bass. I just played trumpet today, in church, with my back to the wall holding the organ pipes so, you see, I know how organ sounds. This SACD captures the visceral power and excitement of great organ.

I have dozens of albums of this genre and many (most) fail to get the balance between the organ and brass right. Either the organ is too far away or the brass is two far away. Both instrument sets can be very powerful, so it's easy to understand how hard it is to capture. Well, Sonoma does a perfect job here.

As for the brass sound, it's burnished, brilliant and accurate. I'm a sponsor of the Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest and get to hear lots and lots of brass ensembles live. The recording really nails it. There's no compression. The mics are balanced perfectly for brass.

Oh, the timpani also fits perfectly. There's only one player, but get to really twack the ole skins a few times.

So, if you like this genre, then this SACD is a MUST HAVE. Sorry, but my universal player is set up such that it won't let me play the CD layer unless I disconnect from the two-channel and hook it to a TV monitor. Sorry, but I just don't feel up to that. I'm certain that the SACD layer is better than the CD, but I can't imagine that the CD is all that bad.

Completely agree.

I have enjoyed this disc many times, thanks for reminding me, it's about time to dig it out again. The long decay times are fun to listen to too.


The decay is over three-seconds. I was trying to figure the reverb time, but it's somewhere close to a second. It's so strong that it's amazing that it doesn't cloud the music.

Thanks for the heads up! I ordered it.
A little off target to be sure but
Recently heard Haydn's Concertos for Organ for the first time and was blown away. Have never heard the instrument so fully integrated into a piece of music that it fit as wonderfully as a piano, clarinet or cello for their respective concertos.
Uru, have you got a link or a particular recording name?

In a different direction...let me suggest Harmonia Mundi 807336 Handel Organ Concertos. Of course we all have at least one recording of these concertos, but this one is a bit different because the organ is a small instrument that isn't going to impress you with thunderous bass. But, it is the kind of organ that Handel had in mind, and personally played, as he invented and popularized the organ concerto.
Only have the LP, It is E. Power Biggs with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra under Zoltan Rozsnyai with the Haydn Organ in Eisenstadt. Arkivmusic is a good link to finding pieces either by conductor,composer,instrument,etc. good site. Just add .com after the name.
Have just discovered a new work, for me that is, Joseph Jongen's Symphonie Concertante. My version, LP has Virgil Fox and the Paris Opera Orchestra. Arkiv and Penguin give high marks to Michael Murray and the San Francico Symphony, have not heard their version but am considering getting it. Very modern romantic and as the album says a sound showpiece. Quite nicely impressed, hope this adds to your list