Gothic Toccata

Bob Crimeen
Sunday Herald Sun (Australia)
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In short: An Aussie toccata with much more bite than Bach.

Hearing, for the first time, Graeme Koehne’s mighty Gothic Toccata, one is strongly urged to scream aloud at the work’s executant, Calvin Bowman: “Enough! Stop!”

  Such is the ferocious power of the seven-minute composition, it is impossible not to feel sympathy for the relentlessly – even brutally – pummelled inner workings of the Melbourne Town Hall grand organ.

It is a thrilling piece of modern music, thrillingly played by Ballarat native Dr Bowman as a centrepiece of an all-Australian program by 10 composers.

The compositions enable Dr Bowman to fully utilise the vast palette of tonal colour the organ produces when manipulated by a master’s fingers and feet.

Gothic Toccata is another bold Antipodean enterprise by Melbourne’s Melba Recordings that reaffirms the increasing presence, and influence, of Australian classical music across the globe.