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Bonjour and Willkommen

CD cover Miller performs French and German music, on Acis

Crista Miller

Pasi Opus 19 (2010)
Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, TX


Bonjour and Willkommen

Disc: 1
1. Choral No. 3 in A Minor, César Franck
2-10. Messe à l’usage ordinaire des Paroisses pour les Festes Solemnelles, François Couperin
11. Prelude, Fugue et Variation, Op. 18, César Franck
12. Symphonie Op. 13, No. 4, III. Andante Cantabile, Charles-Marie Widor
13. Symphonie Op. 13, No. 4, IV. Scherzo, Charles-Marie Widor
14. Symphonie Op. 28, No. 3, V. Finale, Louis Vierne
15. Te Deum, Naji Hakim

Disc: 2
1. Praeludium in E Minor, Nicolas Bruhns
2. Ballo del Granduca, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
3-6. Magnificat V. Toni, Heinrich Scheidemann
7. Christus, der ist mein Leben, Johann Pachelbel
8. Prelude and Fugue in D Major, BWV 532, Johann Sebastian Bach
9. Epistle Sonata in C Major, K. 278, Wolfgang A. Mozart arr. Zsigmond Szathmáry
10. Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, Op. 37, No. 1, Felix Mendelssohn
11. No. 4. Innig, from Etuden in kanonischer Form für Orgel oder Pedalklavier, Op. 56, Robert Schumann
12. Präludium und Fuge über den Namen BACH, S. 260, Franz Liszt

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Reviews:

“effortless virtuosity and musical intelligence…. You’ll buy this release for the marvellous instrument and for Miller’s superlative artistry but you’ll come away with the discovery of (Naji Hakim,) a formidable contemporary composer.”
JED DISTLER, Gramophone, October 2017

“Revealed in 2010 in Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, the IV/75 Martin Pasi Opus 19 organ – the Washington-based firm’s largest instrument to date-deports itself with a decidedly European accent. Reeds drawing on four centuries of French and German tradition, horizontal trumpets acknowledging a Spanish influence and its dual mechanical and electro-mechanical action (a first for the US,claims Pasi) together with three 32ft stops and a sophisticated computer system all make for a multi-faceted, chameleon-like instrument. Cathedral organist and director of music Crista Miller’s centuries-spanning, Franco-German programme and excellent notes offer a full and varied introduction to an organ rich in resources that adroitly balances power and poetry in large but accommodating acoustics.”
MICHAEL QUINN, Choir and Organ, November/December 2017 ****

“In the crowded world of recorded organ music, it is not always easy to access the listener’s ear beyond our own national borders. So, listening to the double disc set from Christa Miller was an enlightening experience. Firstly, the organ is extremely versatile. On the French disc the Couperin Mass positively blossoms in the tonal colour made possible with such a variety of authentic reeds and mutations available, and on three different manuals (including a Gross Tierce). All this interspersed with the plainsong chants, which ought to make it required listening for budding students of the style. The Vierne is driven forward with a great deal of momentum, the latter particularly striking and dramatic. The lengthy echo in such a building adds to the drama with the wealth of colour and volume available. On the German disc, the music is similarly diverse in style and demanding of the organ. In the highways and byways around Buxtehude and Bach, Bruhns is often neglected, as his output for the organ is relatively small. Miller’s Bruhns’ Preludium is compelling, particulaly in the stylus phantasticus sections, where Mattheson’s definition of ‘unrestrained playing’ could not be more apt. The different textures and styles do indeed shock, and Miller revels in the contrasts. Miller has the luxury of several pleno available for her Bach which is carefully measured and tidy in terms of tempo, and consistent in the clarity of texture in the fugue. The counterpoint in the Mendelssohn doesn’t quite match this, but the collection’s finale is a very broody Liszt played with panache and astute handling of the organ. I can’t verify all of the claims in the booklet notes regarding the historic modelling of stops, or the combination of purely mechanical, and electro mechanical actions in one instrument. However, the ambitious nature of packing such a variety of styles on two discs is admirable, and they make very good advocates for the performer and builder alike.”
ANDREW WILSON, Organists’ Review, December 2017