Listening to music history. An introduction

by Lars Rosenlund Nørremark | Het ORGEL | Year 119 | (2023) | Issue 4

Eugène Gigout tijdens opnamen op het Welte-Philharmonic-orgel (1912)

The fascinating world of historical organ recordings has unfortunately been neglected far too long in the academic world, music education, and musical life in general. That is strange, because these recordings can bring us into direct contact with great composers and organists of the past, such as (to name but a few) Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, Joseph Bonnet, Max Reger, Eugène Gigout, Marcel Dupré and Charles Tournemire.
The international organ world is often ignorant of these recordings of ‘old masters’. And when one knows the recordings, they are often found to be so strange and mysterious that they are ignored in bewilderment and discomfort. That may seem exaggerated, but it is usually the case when musicians are confronted with performances by ‘old masters’. The Danish organist Lars Rosenlund Nørremark argues that we should take these recordings seriously as sources for our historically informed performance practice. These organ recordings must of course be carefully and critically studied, but there is no reason not to consider them the equals of other sources.