An unique, but highly appropriate, coupling of the complete works for solo organ by Johannes Brahms, with the Variations on a Recitative – Arnold Schoenberg’s only work for solo organ, and a virtuoso masterpiece of the twentieth-century organ literature.
Played by the brilliant young organist, Tom Bell, on the historic organ of St Bartholomew’s Church, Armley in Leeds.
Tom Bell draws together the virtuoso, lyrical, and contrapuntal elements of Brahms’ organ works, strongly influenced by JS Bach, and the startlingly similar qualities and influences in Schoenberg’s major organ work. The relationship between these three towering figures in German music across three centuries will be a revelation.
Originally built for a large private residence on the outskirts of Leeds in 1869 by the German organ builder Edmund Schulze, the organ was subsequently enlarged and moved to St Bartholomew’s in 1879 by his younger brother, Eduard. In 2004 the organ was fully restored by Harrison and Harrison of Durham, and the late 19th-century German pedigree and tonal structure of this large instrument is ideal for this repertoire.
Tom Bell studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Kevin Bowyer, and in Amsterdam with Jacques van Oortmerssen. His repertoire is broad but he harbours a particular love of new music, something which has led him to premiere many pieces in the last few years.