Recommend Your Top 5 Pipe Organ LPs

Someone asked a few nights ago, and I realized my few pipe organ recordings are all on CD. I don't have any specific musical requests, and I'm fairly amenable to most eras and genres of music. My requests are:

-LPs, not CDs;

-of excellent musical quality and a superlative performance first and foremost;

-preferably better than average to astonishing sonically. I'd prefer to avoid "audiophile labels" as they generally leave me underwhelmed (so please avoid MFSL, half-speed this and that, Super-Discs, blah, blah blah -- the originals are generally significantly better anyway);

-I have nothing against mono and often, older is better.


Richard, notwithstanding your request to avoid audiophile labels most organ recordings on the Proprius and Opus 3 labels are exceedingly good for music, performances and sonics. The Wilson Audio series of organ recordings are superb, particularly those of the various Flentrop organs. If you see any of these, get them.

Both the Vista label (from England) and the Gothic label (U.S.) released very good organ recordings on vinyl that were consistently well recorded.

And, of course, there are the several marvelous recordings made by Mercury Records.

Here are some highlights from my collection:

"Discovery" - Wilson Audio W 8419
"Magnum Opus, Vol 1" - Wilson Audio W 8111
"Recital" - Wilson Audio W 278
"Music of Jehan Alain" - played by Marie Clair Alain, Erato EPR 15555
"Marcel Dupre Organ Recital" - Marcel Dupre, Mercury SR 90169
"Durufle" - Toren/Hedvig Eleonora Church, Proprius PROP 7854
"Franck Chorales" - Dupre, Mercury SRI 75006
"Franck Chorales" - Isoir/Cavaille-Coll/Cathedral de Lucon, Calliope CAL 1921
"Music of Dupre" - Scott/St Paul's Cathedral, Hyperion A66205
"Ligeti's Volumina and other 20thC works" - Caprice CAP 1108
"Messiaen's Les Corps Glorieux" - Preston -org, Abbey Church of St Albans, Argo ZRG 633 or Thiry on Calliope CAL 1925/26
"Two Old Organs - music of Olsson, Daquin, Mozart, Rheinberger" - Opus 3 8007
"Vierne - Organ Symphonies" - Toren/Hedvig Eleonora Church, Opus 3 8203-8207
Something similar but different.
A four LP set under the heading The Golden Age of the Organ
performed by E. Power Biggs on twelve surviving organs by the master builder ARP SCHNITGER (1648-1719). Playing eight Bach preludes and fugues, Concerto in D minor after Vivaldi, Selections from the Anna Magdalena Book, Dorian Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Fanfare Fugue in C Major and works by walther and Pepping.
All the organs are intact or recreations of the originals and are tuned to the way Bach would have heard them. It gives a very different sound than one is used to.
Thanks folks! BTW, I have nothing against a label like Opus 3, since they have a vast catalog of original releases.

We were in Passau, Germany last summer and had the privilege of hearing an organ performance at St. Stephen's cathedral. This being the largest pipe organ outside the US, it was quite a treat, particularly given the baroque setting and the charming town of Passau. A fine evening's worth of music.

Careful on the "magnum Opus" and "Recital" lps by Wilson. I got mine brand new from Accoustic Sounds and the surface noise made them unlistenable. Considering the production source, I was somewhat shocked by this. My copies could have been anomalies (hopefully) but buyer beware anyway.

As counterintuitive as it might sound, I would like to add the two lp box set of "The Digital Fox" on the Ultragroove label (not to be confused with the similar performances on the Crystal Clear label). I have two copies of this gem and it was the only audio related possession I took with me, either hardware or software wise, when I evacuated for Katrina. Virtually all who have heard it at my house from our local club have sought it out. It's a ball.