Organ CDs with really deep bass

I'd like to request and share information with other classical-music audiophiles who are interested in classical pipe organ CDs that are exceptionally well recorded and have really deep bass. I have a couple of recommendations for now, and I'd be interested in hearing recommendations from any of you who are into classical pipe organ CDs that permit your state-of-the-art subwoofer to strut its stuff. (Please, no arguments/diatribes here about analog vs. digital, LP vs. CD. Plenty of room for that elsewhere.)

1. Jean Guillou, organist; Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, Stravinsky, 3 Dances from Petrouchka; Dorian CD DOR-90117. D. B. Keele, who used to write speaker and subwoofer reviews for Audio, used this as one of his references for testing subwoofers and called it "one of my favorite bass demos." It has potent levels of really deep bass. As organ buffs know, most medium-to-large pipe organs have at least one (and sometimes more) 32-foot pipe (usually but not always a pedal pipe); this pipe has a fundamental of 16 Hz. This is one of the few recordings I know of that contains this note. An amazing, reference-quality recording. If you'd like to get evicted and are looking for a lease-breaker, this CD played on a good system with a first-class sub should do the trick. (All of the Dorian CDs I have tried of Guillou playing European organs of his design (three of them) have reference-quality sound and seemingly unlimited bottom-end response.)

2. Michael Murray, organist; The Ruffati Organ in Davies Symphony Hall: A Recital of Works by Bach, Messiaen, Dupre, Widor & Franck; Telarc CD CD-80097. Although not as colorful as the Guillou/Dorian CD above, this excellent CD also has prodigious deep bass that will give your sub plenty to do. To my ears, Telarc does a better job of recording Michael Murray (one of the best organists of our day) playing pipe organs than it does of recording orchestras. There are a number of superb Telarc CDs of Murray playing various interesting organs. This is not my favorite overall, but it is outstanding for deep bass.

Now let's hear from you guys. I'm all ears. Thanks.
Get the new Reference Recordings "Organ Sensation" with the 17 year old prodigy Felix Hell. About the best recorded and performed organ disc I've ever heard, with Guillmant and Liszt showpieces that will literally shake your house down. I have a private recording that the man who designed my speakers made (he also builds organs) of him when he was 13 years old; the kid is a true phenomenon.

The Telarc disc you mention is pretty good, though Murray, while technically a great organist, to my taste lacks the fire and excitement some others (such as Hell, Christopher Herrick, Virgil Fox and Guillou) had or have. Since Murray never makes a mistake, though, he was the ideal organist for Telarc, particularly when they recorded direct-to-disc in the early days of the label. Delos also has a number of fine organ recordings; the one of David Higgs playing the inaugural recital on the Meyerson Center organ in Dallas is terrific, with plenty of bass on the Liszt BACH fugue. Finally (for now), the Dorian recording of Guillou playing the Jongen Symphonie Concertante has plenty of work on the 32 foot stops, and is a fine recording and performance.
Another one with the Ruffati organ in Davies Hall is the Saint Saens Organ Symphony with (who else) Guillou and DeWaart on Philips. The second movement has some true 32 foot stops used throughout, although softer stops are used, not the Bombarde stops, so the sound is gentle. Interestingly, I don't think Guillou used those stops on his recording of the same symphony on Dorian (coupled with the Jongen mentioned earlier). The DeWaart disc also has Guillou playing the most unusual version of the Widor Allegro from his 6th organ symphony you'll ever hear, with a cadenza of his own at the end which a TAS reviewer said should be accompanied by the sound of Widor spinning in his grave! A couple of minutiae--(1) the Ruffati organ does not use pipes for its 32 foot stops, but rather an electronic tone generator (many of my organist friends prefer that, in that pipes of that size are tough to keep on pitch (what little pitch you can hear from those notes) and can sometimes shudder and create a racket), as in many current organs such as the one near me at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark; and (2) the Dorian disc with the Saint Saens and Jongen is a very good example of the adjustable acoustics used in the Meyerson Center Hall--the Jongen was recorded with the acoustics set to be more reverberant, as it's more a concerto featuring the organ, while the Saint Saens has the acoustics a bit drier in comparison, as the organ is part of the orchestra in that piece. On a good system, you'll hear that difference very easily.
It won't shake your house, but a Multichannel SACD, Sony SS87983, E Power Biggs playing Bach Toccatas and Fugues is interesting, because he is playing four organs located in various places in the Cathedral of Freiburg. His interpretation of these old warhorses as antiphonal compositions really works. I don't think this was ever realized before because it is unusual to have a setup where you can play more than one organ at a time. As I understand it, each organ has its own keyboard and can be played by itself, but there is also a "master" keyboard which can play any or all of the four organs.
Eldartford, another SACD, relatively unreported on, with both good sound (and some deep bass) and a good performance is the Linn SACD of the Poulenc Organ Concerto (Gillian Weir is the organist). Shows off SACD's ability to capture ambience well, and a fun piece to listen to. Haven't heard it in multichannel, but I'd think it would lend itself well to that. I'm going to check my collection at home for more, but I will note that Christopher Herrick's recordings on Hyperion are uniformly excellent (his Organ Fireworks series, while not his favorite recordings for them, are a lot of fun and show off a lot of bass, and his Bach recordings are my favorites), and the Priory series of great European church organs is also terrific, with some better than others but generally very well recorded. Those interested in organ recordings of all sorts should check out the Gothic Records catalog (I assume they have a website under their name) and the Organ Historical Society website at
If member sdcampbell does not reply to this thread you might drop Scott a line, also.
1. I'd like to thank those who have responded, especially Rcprince for his informed, knowledgeable responses, on the basis of which I am ordering the Felix Hell Reference Recordings CD and the David Higgs Delos CD of his recital on the Dallas Meyerson organ. This is just the kind of information I'd hoped to elicit, and I appreciate it.

2. There are very few organs in the world (I don't know how many) that have a 64-foot pipe. The gigantic Willis organ (146 stops, almost 11,000 pipes) in the Royal Albert Hall in London is one of them, and I believe there are one or two or three more. If I am correct this pipe would have a fundamental tone of 8 Hz, which would be less a musical "tone" than a minor seismic event, an almost countable pulse in the air. I doubt there has ever been an attempt to record this tone, and if it could be recorded I suppose nobody could play it back. But just as a sort of extra-musical curiosity, does anyone know anything about this esoteric subject?

3. Curiously enough, as Rcprince was writing and sending his second response, I was listening to the Dorian CD of Guillou and the Dallas SO playing the Jongen Symphonie Concertante and the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, using the then-new Fisk organ in the Meyerson Center. You are quite right to point out the deep bass in the Jongen--a delightful performance and a very successful recording. To my ears the Saint-Saens is considerably less so; I don't like the balances here, with the organ too recessed and almost buried in the orchestral fabric. I realize that this was a conscious decision of the recording engineers, as explained in the notes, but I think it was a misjudgment and prevents this recording from being a candidate for one of the best performances of the Saint-Saens. I find not just the balances but the overall sound, including that of the orchestra, superior in the Jongen. You are quite right that the differences in the two are very clearly audible.

4. You might be interested to know that I live in Plano, TX, a suburb of Dallas, and am a season ticketholder of the Dallas SO, and have heard this organ in the Meyerson several times in concerts there. The DSO's resident organist Mary Preston gives monthly demonstrations on it (I'm attending the one in December). I've heard her perform the Saint-Saens with the DSO there and the results were very impressive--and somewhat comical in a way that I'm sure was not intended. The Meyerson has seating for a sizable chorus behind the orchestra and directly (and I do mean directly) in front of the organ, and these seats are sold to concertgoers when there is no chorus present. I was surprised to find these seats occupied by concertgoers for the Saint-Saens, and I wondered how many of them knew what they were going to be in for. I suspect most of them didn't, to judge from the outcome, because when the organ came barreling in full-bore in its stunning entry at the beginning of the Maestoso last movement, I saw many of them levitate a few inches out of their seats in shock; what they were hearing must have been deafening! I'm glad I wasn't sitting there.

5. It's disappointing to learn that the Ruffati organ in the Davies Hall doesn't use real 32-foot pipes but an electronic tone generator. No doubt it works, but somehow it seems like cheating. Thanks for this information, though, and I don't think I'd have known if you hadn't told me. I'll have to try to hear the Guillou/DeWaart Philips recording of the Saint-Saens (although I have so many versions of this piece already that I've no business acquiring any more).

6. I love the bit about being accompanied by the sound of Widor spinning in his grave! Yes, I know Guillou's reputation as a somewhat wayward free spirit (he is also a composer and a great improviser) and not the organist anyone would go to for "correct" or "scholarly" interpretations. Nevertheless I think his Dorian CDs are absolutely delightful; I have them all and take great pleasure in them, and they are magnificently recorded. Of course he is titulaire at St. Eustache in Paris, and that is a grand and mighty and impressive organ, but I like even better the recordings he has made on the Kleuker-Steinmeyer organ of the Tonhalle, Zurich, and the (rather small) Kleuker organ of Notre-Dame des Neiges, Alpe d'Huez, France; these are so colorful as played by Guillou and are recorded by Dorian with wonderful clarity and focus. (Guillou had significant input into the design of all three of these organs.)

7. I understand what you are saying about Murray and can see why some might find his playing a bit stodgy. But I find him an eminently satisfying organist, sound and musicianly, and I especially like his Bach. His playing is never flashy or trendy and he never seems to be trying to show off. One of his best Telarc CDs is The Young Bach, played on the lovely Gabriel Kney organ at the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul Minnesota. This is a rather small organ recorded with wonderful clarity and vividness by Telarc, and I think this CD is a triumph for all concerned.

8. Other favorite organists of mine are Herrick, Alain, and Hurford, and I still love a number of the old Biggs recordings. Fox I have never much cared for; there is often something garish and vulgar about his playing to my ears. But I know many organ buffs admire him.

9. I'd love to hear from any other organ buffs who'd like to recommend favorite organ recordings with first-rate sound. Thanks again.
As far as 64 foot stops go, there are some organs that have them; I think the Washington Cathedral may have one, and perhaps the Wannamaker Organ in Philadelphia. There's supposedly a 64 foot stop and 8hz note used on the M&K Power and Glory LP, although that may be a resultant from two 32 foot stops; my system doen't go low enough to hear it, although I remember some queaziness in my stomach listening to it, so there may be some truth to the rumor.

On the use of an electronic 32 foot stop, we use a tone generator for the 32 foot stop of our small organ in my church. When we got the thing (it's really a large speaker, which you amplify with an amp with a level control), I put it on a wheelbarrow and wheeled it around the church working with our organist to find the spot it would best integrate with the rest of the organ. We wound up putting it above and behind the choir loft, adjacent to the church offices and a large meeting room. When our organist, who loves deep bass, set the amplifier to figure the proper level, he initially didn't realize how sensitive the driver was, and when he played the first 16hz low C he knocked all the pictures off the walls in the meeting room and offices and drove the church staff out of the building fearing that an earthquake had occurred (any of you had that problem integrating a subwoofer?)! It may be cheating, Texasdave, but it actually does work quite well, and is a nice alternative for an organ that doesn't have the space in its chambers for a true 32 foot pipe.
When I do want to shake my house I use Telarc SACD 60579 "The Sound of Glory" Morman Tabernacle Chior. This is not exclusively organ music, but they do have one monster organ there in Salt Lake City, and most of the stops were pulled out on some of the selections. This is a Hybrid disc, so it will work on a regular CD player, although I have never used it that way.
Eldartford, thanks for the tip about the Telarc Mormon Tabernacle CD. I'll check it out.

Thanks for the additional information, Rcprince. I regularly attended organ concerts in the National Cathedral outside Washington DC back in 1963-64. I was quite impressed by this mighty organ (in fact it was the experience of hearing concerts played on this organ that got me hooked on organs and organ music), and if I remember correctly I got a specification of it at the time; I believe it's an Aeolian-Skinner organ, and I'm pretty sure it does not have a 64-foot pipe. Like you I would have guessed that the huge Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia would be a likely candidate to have such a pipe. I seem to remember years ago encountering a reference to some continental European organ(s) with such a pipe. Anyone know more about this?

I love your story about the pictures coming off the walls and the staff exiting the building when the 16 Hz tone was generated at your church! This rig really sounds like a kind of super subwoofer and amp, basically pretty much like what we audiophiles use, although no doubt larger and more powerful--would that be correct? Speaking of knocking the pictures off the walls, I haven't had that happen, but when I play the bass warble tones on any of the three Stereophile Test CDs (very useful, I've found, in finding the optimum positions for speakers and subwoofers and setting levels), I've noticed that when I get down to the 25 Hz and 20 Hz warble tones, I start to get a significant (clearly audible) amount of rattling, shaking, and buzzing of various objects in the room. To a lesser extent I also occasionally get this with some pipe organ recordings (had it happen just yesterday, in fact, with Christopher Herrick's Organ Fireworks volume 9 on Hyperion, a CD that could certainly be added to the list of recommendable, well-recorded organ CDs with really deep bass).
Some that I've found to be quite revealing:

JS Bach:
Toccatas, Fugues, Fantasia, etc. (Works for Organ, vol. 4)
Kevin Bowyer (organ)
Nimbus (1993)

Chorale Preludes, Preludes, Fugues, etc. (Works for Organ, vol. 8)
Kevin Bowyer (organ)
Nimbus (1996)

Toccatas and Fugues, BWV 538, 540, 564, 565; Passacaglia in C min., BWV 582
Christopher Herrick (organ)
Hyperion (1990)

Trio Sonatas 1-6, BWV 525-530
David Sanger (organ)
Meridian (1991)

Orlando Gibbons:
Keyboard Music ("The Woods So Wild")
John Toll (harpsichord and organ)
Linn (2002)
Thanks, Cpdunn99, for your recommendations.

Here are two more recommendations for organ CDs that I've found outstanding.

1. Michael Murray, Bach, The Great Organ at Methuen (Mass.), Telarc CD-80049. In my opinion this is one of the greatest organs in the USA, and it has an unusual history. Built by the Bavarian firm of Walcker in 1857-63 for the Boston Music Hall, it was the first concert organ in the country. In 1884 it was dismantled to give stage space for the new Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1897 it was purchased by a wealthy gent who commissioned a lavish new music hall in Methuen Mass. for it, where it was installed and rededicated in 1909. It must be one of the very few organs in the world that enjoys its own music hall built especially to house it. It was revised and rebuilt by the famous G. Donald Harrison of Aeolian-Skinner in 1947. Today it has four manuals, 84 stops, 115 ranks, and more than 6,000 pipes (including two 32-foot pedal pipes).

The description of the tonal qualities of this organ in the CD notes (uncredited, but I suspect by Murray) is so apt, so right-on-target that I'd like to quote it: "Neither wholly romantic nor wholly classic, the Methuen organ partakes of both styles of instrument and is suited to both styles of music. Its beauties include a unique mellowness that comes only to well-built flue pipes and only after decades of seasoning, and a miraculous blending of 8' foundations, whose harmonics interweave like the colors of a tapestry. The tutti is overwhelming, not abrasive. The mixtures are bright, not shrill. The foundations are full-bodied but remain, in even the most complex polyphony, clear. Accordingly, the Methuen organ is renowned as one of the world's artistic treasures." Indeed, it's a rare beauty.

Why this magnificent organ isn't better known and hasn't been more frequently recorded is a mystery to me. I used to have an old mono Columbia LP of Biggs playing a recital on it. If there are other presently available recordings of it, I'd like to know about them.

2. Michael Murray, Bach, The Organs at First Congregational Church, Los Angeles, Telarc CD-80088. This Skinner-Schlicker instrument is a very large organ in a very large church. Actually it is two organs at opposite ends of the nave, with twin consoles, four manuals, 214 ranks, "including several of 32-foot pitch" (I don't have the specification). Again, a superb big organ. This recital includes the ubiquitous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565, in a performance as stirring and satisfying as any I've heard (and anyone who's an organ buff has heard a great many!).

To my ears both these Michael Murray Telarc CDs have it all: a master organist playing major Bach works on two magnificent instruments, both with exemplary sound: full, rich, clear, and vivid, with excellent, natural bass. If you relish organs and organ music, it doesn't get much better than this. Together with the Murray "The Young Bach" CD on Telarc described in one of the posts above, these are three of my "desert island" organ CDs.
Here are a couple more recommendable organ CDs with fine music, fine performances, excellent sound and really deep bass that will keep your subwoofer occupied:

Michael Murray, organ; Encores a la francaise and Poulenc Organ Concerto (with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Shaw, cond.); Telarc CD-80104. This features the organ at Symphony Hall, Boston, in the encores, and the Aeolian-Skinner organ in the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, in the Poulenc.

Michael Murray, organ; Jongen Symphonie Concertante (with San Francisco Symphony, Edo De Waart, cond.) and Franck, Fantaisie and Pastorale; Telarc CD-80096. This features the Ruffati organ in Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, about which the CD notes claim: "said to be the largest concert hall organ in the world." As Rcprince notes in one of his posts above, there is also a fine Dorian CD with Jean Guillou playing the organ in Meyerson Center, Dallas (with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Mata) that is an excellent version of the Jongen, very well recorded and with deep bass.
I recently joined Audiogon and spotted this thread. Check out Stephen Tharp at the Skinner organ in Girard College (Ethereal ER-108). The 32' Pedal Diapason is very effective. I had the opportunity one day, during the OHS convention in Philadelphia, to help Ed Kelly (Mobile Masters) record several organs. He can certainly find the sweet spot for recording a pipe organ. The resonance of the building is extremely important. The building is to a pipe organ as a soundboard is to a piano.

If you're still interested, I have about 500 organ CD's and can make some further recommendations on CDs with both good sound and deep bass (no electronic 32's). By the way, the Wanamaker Organ has a resultant 64' that is created by sounding the 32' fundamental and adding a fifth at 21 1/3' pitch for a resulting 64' tone at 8 Hz. Same deal with many other 64' flue stops, e.g. Liverpool Cathedral. They go by the names Resultant, Acoustic Bass, Gravissima, or in combination.

I believe the Atlantic City Convention Hall organ has a full length 64' flue stop. The Hill organ in Sydney Town Hall has a 64' reed in the Pedal. David Drury plays the Liszt "Ad Nos" on this organ (ABC 438 881-2) and at the ending, it sounds like a helicopter hovering over the music! It's impressive.
Telarc (who else) has a new album of the titanic Kunstfaust organ made from now discarded missle hulls at Peenemunde. You are required to sign a release at time of purchase. It is the only earthly sound detected by the Mars Rover. Just watch out for cerebral hemmoraging.
Have you seen this title from PentaTone?

It is available at if you are interested.

You may also want to check out

and enter "organ" in the search box and select "title" for your option.

You will get a lot of SACD titles that you may be interested in.

I have the Pentatone "Toccata" sacd referenced by Lenardd. It was recorded on the De Rijckere organ, Oostkerk, the Netherlands. It is a nice recording, to be sure, but not a bass powerhouse. The largest pipes are 16 footers, I think. Thanks to Texasdave for this thread. I have been in search of organ music to give my Bag End Infra-18 a workout. It's been getting a little pudgy.
Inspired by this thread, I picked up a copy of "The Uncommon Bach", Joan Lippincott and George Ritchie, organists. The performance uses the Fritts-Richards organ in St. Alphonsus Parich Church in Seattle. The instrument has a 32' posaunen, a 16' subbass and a 16' posaunen. This is a DTS 5.1 surround disc on the PGM label web site is Can anyone recommend a good book as a primer for pipe organ construction and terminology for a non-musician? What is the difference between a subbass and a posaunen?
There are many books written on pipe construction, some very technical. Take a look at the Organ Historical Society Website, They have quite a few books available on-line. You might want to call them for a recommendation.

A subbass is a foundation flue stop usually found in the Pedal Organ. Typically, it is a 16' stop which produces a 32Hz frequency at Low C. The Posaunen is a reed stop sounding like a Trumpet or Trombone in the lower registers. At 32' a Posaunen will have a relatively weak fundamental frequency at 16 Hz, Low C. But the beating of the reed at this frequency provides power to the full ensemble or "full organ"

I haven't heard this CD but it sounds like a small scale organ, voiced in the Northern German style. Clarity of tone is more important here than really deep bass, especially for contrapuntal music like that of Bach.

I found real inspiration while listening to organ recordings and then listening to organ music. The clincher for me was music from the French Romantic Period of the 19th century (Franck, Widor, Guilmant, Vierne). Big sound, large instruments, and glorious music. Not very popular though!
I have a very old Mono LP titled "Liebert takes Richmond". It is non classical music, such as you might hear at an ice skating rink, played on a very large Wurlitzer, that gives meaning to the term "all the bells and whistles".. A great recording but technically outdated, and my copy is worn out.
Does anyone have a suggestion along these lines? J.S Bach need not apply.
Late in the thread, but I wanted to mention that the Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ Society put out a fundraiser CD of the organ - not a blockbuster **BUT** it has a recording of the solo 64' stops! I don't know of any other recording that has this. Just have your hand on the volume control when you try it is available on their website.
I recently stumbled across a CD that belongs in this thread: Ocean Grove: French Spectaculars on the Great Ocean Grove Organ, Gordon Turk, organist, a Dorian CD recorded in 1998. I haven't found anyone who does a better job of recording organs than Craig Dory of Dorian Records, and he did this one. This is a very large organ (4 manuals, 152 ranks, 9,000 pipes, four or five 32' pipes), and this CD is one of the best recordings of a big organ I've ever heard: clear, well focused, wide dynamic range, full frequency range, plenty of natural-sounding, floor-shaking deep bass. This one will give your subwoofers a real workout, and if you're looking for a lease-breaker, it should do the trick. An exceptional recording.
Here's another one that belongs in this thread: Peter Hurford playing Mendelssohn, 3 Sonatas and 3 Preludes & Fugues, on the Ratzeburg Cathedral organ, Germany. This is an Argo CD recorded in 1984, and the engineer (Simon Eadon) deserves credit for a superb job: the organ, a large modern instrument (4 manuals, two 32' pedal pipes), is recorded with excellent clarity, but with exceptional deep bass. The booklet contains the following statement (which is certainly unusual for Argo/Decca/London): "Technical Note: Organists and Audiophiles will be interested to know that special attention was paid to recording the massive pedal department of this exciting organ as accurately as possible, whilst at the same time retaining the clarity of the upper-work. Bottom D at 32 pitch represents a fundamental frequency of 19Hz, with sub-harmonics below this. This recording should provide a challenging test and excellent demonstration for lovers of organ music and hi-fi alike." Hurford is one of the best organists around, and he uses this same organ extensively in his complete Bach organ works cycle for Decca/London (but not with the incredibly deep bass heard here, which literally makes my windows shake and rattle). An excellent CD, strongly recommended for any organ buff.
Reference Recordings Psalms with the Turtle Creek Chior has some marvelouos organ sections
Montreal Symphony Orchestra's version of Holst's The Planets conducted by Charles Dutoit. Saurn has the fundamental organ pedal notes that must be hovering in the 16 Hz and 32 Hz range recorded at substantial level.
The RR CD "Felix Hell--Organ Sensation" has a number of pieces where he uses the full 32 foot stops--tremendous bass. Try the Guillmant and Vierne pieces--the bass goes well below 32Hz, probably down in the high teens, low 20s. Not a particularly reverberant venue, but excellent playing (this kid is a true phenomenon) and, as always with RR, well-recorded with plenty of power.
I agree with Rcprince about the RR CD "Felix Hell--Organ Sensation." (I think he's the one who turned me on to this CD.) Felix is terrific and so is the recording. On some systems this one may seem to have almost too much deep bass. Another one I recently acquired that has a seemingly bottomless bottom end is The Sonatas of Julius Reubke (inclulding the Sonata for Organ "The 94th Psalm") played by Jean Guillou on the big Aeolian Skinner organ of Trinity Church, NYC, on a Dorian CD. A very impressive recording of this splendid organ, with wonderful deep bass.
Got one that 's hard to find: it's a CD that came with BBC Classical Magazine back in 1998. It's Wayne Marshall playing Liszt, Frank, Malcolm Bruno and Bach. Mastered by Naim (I think), this cd gets loud on the Liszt.

Marty, that is a good one, I've got it too. Marshall is excellent, and the Liszt is a good showpiece for deep bass.
Let's revive this one for a second, I just listened to the recent Ondine SACD of the Philadelphia Orchestra with Olivier Latry playing the Saint Saens Organ Symphony, the Poulenc Organ Concerto and the Barber Toccata Festiva. Latry is a virtuoso organist, and simply seems to love the 32 foot stops on the instrument. Astounding bass in the last octave, down into the teens, I believe, with tremendous volume and power down there. Not sure if the CD layer does as well, but in SACD it is amazing. And the performances are very good as well all around--the Barber is a show-stopper.
Since I posted on this thread I visited the organ stop pizza place in Mesa Arizona. Well worth a visit if you are near that part of the world. Check out their website: They sell CDs, but the real thing is better than the CDs.
Texas Dave,

Do you know where the The Great Organ at Methuen (Mass.), is located? I live close to Mehtuen and would love to check it out.

Also for anyone interested I believe the organ at Woosley hall in Yale is supposed to be able to play a phantom or resultant note equal to a 64 foot stop
Texasdave recommends 11-23-04 Peter Hurford who has several CDs on Argo/Decca.
Peter Hurford, Romantic Organ Music Vol II (is superior to Vol I). The more common Vol I, is still good.
Peter Hurford, Hindemith Organ Sonatas, Argo 417 159-2 is excellent and worth seeking out.

Like most readers and posters here, I happen to enjoy Guillou, Murray, and Hurford. I have to buy them on web without auditioning first. I even doubt if their sonic benefits can be heard on the systems available in most CD stores. Please can someone who owns all their CDs, rank them in a purchase order for each artist.
The pipe organ sampler CD "King of instruments: A listener's guide to the art and science of recording the organ" contains several artitistically and sonically spectacular performances, e.g. that of Maurice Duruflé's Scherzo op. 2 played by Todd Wilson. The final chord concludes with something that makes any two-way bass reflex loudspeaker wave the white flag of surrender. Try it... but take care.
Organist David Drury has 3 CDs on ABC Classics label. "Music for a Grand Organ" and "Pomp&Circumstance" feature the Sydney Town Hall organ and have occaisonal infra bass. "On a Grand Scale" uses the Melbourne Town Hall organ and frequently reproduces the lower bass pipes (not ultimately as deep as Sydney) and sustained bass is very common. All 3 Cds are worthwhile. Not as exciting as Guillou or Felix but better than Hurford.
I love your thread here. I also love the Mussorgsky and the Murray recordings you list. Both have bass that goes deep. The Murray is around 12Hz and the Guillou is 8.8Hz and is on track 2 for the footsteps of Gnomus. Lots of good bass that is well recorded. I made a list of other recordings I love that have below 16Hz bass.

Pomp & Pipes Fredrick Fennell Reference Recording RR-58CD

Michael Murray, Bach Methuen, Telarc CD-80049 Fantastic organ but the deep bass is suppressed some and needs to be boosted about 8db for best balance.

Mormon Tabernacle Organ Longhurst, Philips 412-217-2

Jongen: Symphonie Murray, Telarc CD-80096

Encores a la francais Murray, Telarc CD-80104

Dupre, Rheinberger Murray, Telarc CD-80136

Buxtehude series form NAXOS Love the music and the recordings are good.

Cathedral of St. John Murray, Telarc CD-80169 - The cathedral has a LONG resonant time that muddies up some of the deep bass but it is still good.

I agree on the Joyce Jones Motette CD 11491 stated earlier.

Star of Wonder Reference Recording RR-21CD O Come all ye Faithful. Deep but not really even note to note.

Bach on the Biggest Atlantic City Convention Hall ACCHOS/CD/02 - This was an awesome organ!! 449 ranks, 8Hz. The recording is from 1957 and has hiss but it is really fun. Truncated slightly on the deep bass but DEEP and STRONG!!!

Don’t Forget Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra on various Telarc, I have it on a sampler and time warp CD-80106 8.5Hz opening pipe!!
Jean Guillou, Vol.#4 Bach Organ set (of 5 cd's) on Dorian. 1st selection, 1st 5 minutes or so. very deep and very clear bass notes. i took this cd to a dealer to test out a $50,000 pair of very well regarded speakers. i did NOT turn the volume up all that high either. long story short, the speakers distorted several times. you need a great amplifier and a very competent pair of speakers to play this cd properly. just to reiterate, you don't have to crank up the system to enjoy this cd, but you will want to "hear" the actual notes being played.
There's a great recording of a Gerhard Weinberger concert consisting of short Liszt and Bach pieces that's called "Concert at Passenau". It was recorded on the Passenau organ in Germany (at the time the largest organ in the world). I bought a CD on a visit to Passenau Cathedral, but I believe it's also available on SACD and - played at volume - it will cause seasickness.

Chicago Concert, organist Kalevi Kiviniemi, Motette CD 12361.  Try tracks 1(lengthy bass),6 (deeper bass) and 12(hum ? until 1 min). You have to increase volume but the deep bass is audible.  IMO -On other tracks, treble sometimes marred by excessive reverberation.
The complete organ works, Edward Cuthbert Bairstow, organist Jackson, York Minster organ  Mirabilis, MRCD 902. Tracks 1 and 7 step down the pedal notes eventually resulting in several seconds of profound bass.  Do not increase the volume after 1 min on track 1 or your speakers will be damaged just after 3 min.  As the booklet warns, Bairstow liked the quiet bits, quiet and the loud bits, loud.
SACDs generally sound better because of the greater effort required to record them.  Actual bass output depends on the material played:
(1)  Ian Tracey- Grand Pieces Symphoniques on Chandos is subtle (listen to the bass fluttering on tk 2), and with generally restrained bass
(2) Ian Tracey - Fantaisie Triomphale on Chandos is rich in bass tones and often bombastic - same organ as above
(3) Jean-Paul Imbert - Cesar Franck on Base2. Tracks 1 & 2, will delight bass freaks, however the overall pace is a little slow.
SACDs generally sound better because of the greater effort required to record them.
Huh? Please explain why it is more difficult to record for an SACD than it would be for any other format.
SACD is 5.1 surround sound from 6 channels (like DVD) . You need 2 microphones for CD, 6 microphones for SACD. The extra channels are not multi tracks, but separate sources.  The FL and FR channels on CD and SACD should sound the same, but SACD also has the FC, RL, RR and sub as well. 
  • I recently acquired this disc of Carsten Weibusch’s Debussy organ transcriptions recorded by the German Audite label. I find it to have excellent artistic and recording qualities. There is a tremendous sense of being immersed within the recording venue. It certainly ticks the box of "great demo disc for lower organ registers." The only negative I could mention is that one hears the continual aural presence of the organ’s windchest.

When I do a search on the internet I often stumble over a so-called "Soundhound Organ CD", but it was never officially released. It was just a CD-R. Then I read someting about an official CD named "Organ Fantasia" by an artist named Christian Elliott. These two records are supposed to have the same content. Can anyone confirm that? I asked Mr. Elliott directly but he doesn’t know.