Gothic Toccata

Donald Metz
American Record Guide (US)

Aside from Grainger and possibly Thalben-Ball, I doubt if any of the other composers are familiar to listeners. That is because they are all Australian either by birth or by residence. Bowman is Ormond College Organist and Associate Artistic Director of Australia Pro Arte; the instrument is a powerful 4-150 Schantz (2001), a rebuilding of the 1929 instrument after the organ was deemed unplayable in the 1990s. The Pedal Division alone boasts one 64’ and six 32’ ranks, though four of these are borrowed.

Except the pieces by Koehne and Thalben-Ball, the remaining selections are world premiere recordings. Most of the composers comment on their work in the liner notes, which is a great help … Schultz’s Etudes include quiet, haunting works (Etude II) with slow, seemingly endless explorations with long held chords. In like manner, Edwards’s Dawn Canticle is an organ transcription of his a cappella piece written for broadcast at the dawn of the new millennium. The hushed sounds translate well in a simple, romantic harmonic framework.  Conversely, his Organmaninya purposely explores the rhythms and noise of the modern world … Bowman displays a fine command of these thorny scores, and allows listeners the chance to experience the full range of sonorities possible with this instrument.