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One has to admire Jan Lehtola for his fervent promotion of Finnish organ culture. This disc of the complete Schumann organ/pedal piano works features a pneumatic instrument built in 1908 by the Thulé company for Parikkala church on the Russian border and, following some misguided mid-century revisions, recently restored to its original condition. Although not as obviously attractive or, in the context of a Schumann recording, idiomatic as the Merseburg Ladegast as featured on Thomas Trotter’s similar recording for Regent, the Parikkala organ evinces a convincingly late Romantic German solidity and Lehtola’s quite frequent registration changes (especially in the Sketches) grow organically from the spirit of the organ perhaps more than that of the music. His interpretations, as usual, do not draw undue attention to themselves, although there are moments (such as in the very tricky third Sketch) where control is less than optimal. One very odd misreading too: the G flat (soprano) in bar 15 of the fourth Sketch should surely be a G natural?

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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