The Organ at Sydney Opera House [CD]

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  • Eloquence
  • 4840351
  • Peter Hurford plays The Organ at Sydney Opera House.

While playing organs worldwide, and concentrating his work in his native England, Peter Hurford nonetheless gave recitals on organs across Australia throughout his long career. However, he hardly played an instrument more dazzling in its impact and variety than the organ which was installed at the Sydney Opera House.

Completed in May 1979 at a cost of $1.2 million, the organ has come to be regarded as one of the finest such instruments in the southern hemisphere. Among the world’s largest mechanical-action organs, it was built by an Australian, Ronald Sharpe and, during the final phase of construction, the Austrian organ-building firm of Gregor Hradetzky.

Both the instrument and Hurford’s rhythmically animated playing are justly immortalised by this album of popular organ classics. It begins with the toccata and fugue which was almost certainly not written for organ and probably not composed by Bach, but is destined to be associated with both in the public imagination. Likewise the Adagio that is no more or less than Giazotto’s reworking and Romantic elaboration of a slender theme ‘by’ Albinoni.

Whoever it was by, every piece on this compendious introduction to organ literature is richly enjoyable, and Hurford duly enjoys all the colours of the Sydney organ by, almost literally, pulling out all the stops during the course of the album. In the hands of Hurford, Herbert Murrill’s Carillon is a dazzling feat of prestidigitation, and the Sydney trumpets will test out the most exacting audio equipment here and in the album’s inevitable conclusion, the Toccata from Widor’s Fifth Symphony.


1 Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
2 Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (arr. Hurford)

Arranged by REMO GIAZOTTO (1910–1998)
3 Adagio in G minor

JEREMIAH CLARKE (c.1673–1707)
4 Trumpet Tune in D major (arr. Hurford)

5 Wedding March (from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’)

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822–1890)
6 Chorale No. 2 in B minor

7 Carillon

8 Solemn Melody

9 Toccata (from Symphony No. 5)

Peter Hurford
at the Organ of Sydney Opera House