Wayne Marshall, concert organist, pianist and conductor, brings his first Organ masterpiece to Base2 Music. The central piece is Marcel Dupré’s Passion Symphony. Plus music from Messiaen, Schmidt, Baker, Villette and Widor.
The same spiritual force that drove Marcel Dupré (1886-1971) to first improvise and then write down his Passion Symphony (or SymphoniePassion, Opus 23) serves as muse for English organist and composer Wayne Marshall (b. 1961). Marshall’s focus on Dupré as a centrepiece for this recording helps illustrate how the French organ tradition evolved during the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th. His artistry then helps preserve this tradition with painstaking reverence, but more importantly taps into its lingering power with new momentum on a fairly new instrument.
In fact, this is the first commercial recording on this instrument. Inaugurated in 2016, the Mascioni organ inside the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, Portugal, has everything that invites inspired artists to explore the sacred side of organ music. Naturally this helps give older, familiar works new context and meaning while championing more recent composers too.
Wayne Marshall was born in 1961 and is an English pianist, organist, and conductor. He’s the Chief Conductor of WDR Funkhausorchester in Cologne and Organist and Associate Artist of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
From 1971 to 1979, Wayne was a student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.
He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, which was combined with the post of Organ Scholar at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
From 1983-84, Wayne was a post-graduate student at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna.
Recorded at the organ of Coventry Cathedral for EMI, his first recorded work was in 1990.
Around this time, Wayne started conducting. Some of the most noteworthy opera conducting achievements include Washington, Dallas, Montreal, Paris, (Opéra Comique) Rome and Dresden Semperoper.
He became Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in 2007.
He has performed many times at the BBC Proms and was a co-presenter for the Barenboim Prom in 2014.
He was the BBC Music Magazine’s Artist of the Year in 1998 and in 2010 became a Fellow of the Royal College of Music.
In 2016, Wayne received the prestigious Golden Jubilee Award in commemoration of his services to music.
Wayne is a celebrated interpreter of Gershwin, Bernstein, and other 20th-century American composers.
Total time: 01:21:14
Vivid Audio UK / Base2 facilities
Sennheiser MKH8020 Omni
None – direct input.
|Original Recording Format|
Recorded 27 – 29 May 2019. Fátima, Santuário de Fátima, Portugal
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
Vivid Audio Giya 2 and 1
|Release Date||May 22, 2020|
There is no doubt in my mind that Base2 music production have now become prime purveyors of bespoke organ music, fitting organ buffs with music of superior quality that clearly stands out from the rest.
This time it is Wayne Marshall, pianist, organist and conductor, who pulls the stops. Well, metaphorically spoken that is, as this ultra-modern organ functions with rows of neatly marked dip switches (stop tabs or set buttons) on either side of the 5-manuals console.
Wayne’s ambitious tastes run high and far. The Passion Symphony is not for beginners. It is the fruit of one of the best French improvisers at the organ.
My first impression was one of being completely overwhelmed. As suggested in the technical notes, I had put my volume up more than usual. The neighbourhood must have been glad that there are more than six acres of land around my listening position. Although most probably not as voluminous as Wannaker’s, the sheer sound production as recorded by Base2 Music is not only most impressive but also without any audible hint of distortion.
To use all the facilities and combinations at his disposal, Marshall did not leave any stop untouched, so it seemed to me, enabling him to make personal choices. Nervously powerful, yet smooth and at times soft-edged. Whether or not Dupré is your cup of tea, respect will grow by the minute for the ingenuity of the composition and the compelling commitment of the interpreter, creating a world full of spiritual inspirations that correspond so well with the holy sentiments of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fàtima.
Wayne did not forget to cater for the (semi-) old guard with the inclusion of the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of the King’s Fanfare, written by Franz Schmidt, a late romantic Austro-Hungarian composer born in Pressburg (now Bratislava in Slovakia) and, to further demonstrate the versatility of the organ, typical contemporary French works by Pierre Villette, and, not to forget, Olivier Messiaen, with which the concert opens.
Of course, this Mascioni organ still is a young instrument, and beautiful though it is, it would need more players of the kind of Wayne Marshall, to give it its proper soul. In the meantime, and for those who want to spread their wings wider than the standard repertoire, this is another winner from Base2 Music Production to enjoy.
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