Anne Laver's Reflections of Light is a compelling recital of organ music, inspired by the concept of "celestial light," a religious idea that found expression in Philipp Nicolai's chorale, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, and many other sacred pieces. Laver has structured her program around this idea, in part as a study of contrasts between light and darkness, as well as a unifying theme for some of her favorite works. The feeling of ecstasy that's inherent in much of this album's music can be regarded as an aspect of a visionary experience of divine light, though it's somewhat easier to perceive the organ's capacity for bright sonorities, particularly in Laver's playing of Bach's Toccata in C major, which seems to throw off sparks. Not all of the pieces suggest musical effects of light because the nature of chorales and chorale preludes requires a reverent approach that is less conducive to tone painting. Exceptional offerings are Eunyoung Kim's Prelude on "Veni Creator Spiritus," which fairly bursts with resplendent chords and energetic rhythms, somewhat in the manner of Jehan Alain 's Litanies, and Judith Bingham's St. Bride, Assisted by Angels, which offers a more meditative consideration of the light theme. Laver plays the Paul Fritts & Co. Opus 25 (2006) in St. Joseph Cathedral, Columbus, Ohio, and this mighty organ has 5,000 pipes which accommodate organ music from all periods.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
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