Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
10:07 AM 4th September 2021

Classical CD Review: Northern Lights – Christopher Herrick Plays The Organ Of Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim

Northern Lights –
Christopher Herrick Plays the organ of Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim

Takle Yes! Farrginton Lay my burden down No 3 Amazing Grace; Dubois Fiat Lux; Praestholm See the golden sun rising from the ocean op 32 No 1; The sun is rising in the east Op 11 No 13; Lord you give us life and happiness Op 22 No 10; Fletcher Fountain reverie; Festival Toccata; Börjesson Tre stycken No 3: Toccata 'Herren, vår Gud, är en Konung'; Stamm Toccata giocosa; Gigout Toccata; Brahms Prelude and Fugue in G minor; Yon 3 Compositions for Organ No 3 Second concert study 'Flying feet'; Eftestøl Wedding March
Hyperion CDA68376 CD or downloadable

4 Stars
Christopher Herrick made this recording against the extraordinary backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we look towards the optimism of returning to a somewhat normal life, this CD will help us along our way towards a light of hope.

It’s full of energy and optimism captured by a superb programme that demonstrates this fine 1930 Steinmeyer organ restored in 2012-14 by Kuhn AG, brilliantly.

The palette of colours Herrick has to hand from the range of 127 speaking stops and 9,725 pipes, coupled with his understanding of the music and how to use the organ to illustrate different effects, is first-rate. The opening piece by Norwegian composer Mons Leidvin Takle, with its affirmative title, Yes! is described as a non-stop joyous and celebratory piece, energetically given its stamping Spanish dance rhythms and catchy melodies by Herrick’s wonderful interpretation.

Farrington’s Lay my burden down a continuous sequence of jazz and gospel variations on Amazing Grace certainly works well on this organ. For me Herrick portrays the spirit of the well-known Dubois composition Fiat lux, capturing the meaning of its title ‘Let there be light’ from the opening bars building up to the ffff ending.

The joy of this disc is Herrick introducing a perfect balance of well-known pieces by Brahms, Gigout and Dubois with unfamiliar pieces from Scandinavian composers.

Fletcher’s bold, vigorous, upbeat Festival Toccata, which should be heard more often, is alongside his delicious Fountain reverie, where Herrick’s registration sets the scene so well.

I had not come across Praestholm before and I am grateful to Herrick for including Praestholm’s pleasant three hymn tunes , most enjoyable and three pieces showing off the different stops of this fine organ. Stamm’s tuneful Toccata giocosa, with its light and airy start, crescendoing through to its thunderous and triumphal conclusion is also worthy inclusion. The last piece, Eftestøl’s Wedding March is frequently used in Norway as a processional for the bride to enter or leave the church and, although broad and noble, it is perhaps not what the listener would be expecting.

If you are unfamiliar with organ music then this CD is a good starting point and, for those who consider themselves organ buffs, it is a great addition to the collection.

A really joyous CD with Herrick extolling the virtues of this fine organ through sparkling repertoire and excellent playing.