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ZVONIMIR NAGY - Angelus - Music for Organ - Jaeckel Organ Op. 55 (2015) - Released: April 2018 - Ravello Records RR7987

Five Litanies of the Soul
Two Canons
Seven Preludes for a Prayer

Picture this: You're sitting alone in a large church, with only the diffused colors of the stained-glass windows and a few lit glass votive candles in the sanctuary as a light source within the hallowed darkness. Unbeknownst to you, the organist up in the loft has been setting up and launches into the Prayer by Croatian-born, American composer Zvonimir Nagy. It immediately stirs your soul and focuses your awareness of 'being' here in this time and place within the context of existence. It's soft and slow harmonic shifts and modulations bathe you in a comforting warmth and immerse you into a contemplative state. When it ends, you realize that you're actually sitting in your living room listening to this recording. You've been transported.

Zvonimir Nagy's organ music brings to mind the music of Carson Cooman in his more subdued moments. So I wasn't surprised, after listening to this recording, to find out that the booklet notes were actually written by Carson Cooman. Even though the 2015, Opus 55 Jaeckel Organ of the Duquesne University Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Pittsburgh is built around an impressive set of stops including a 32' Resultant in the pedals, it's the softer Bourdon and Flûte registration that is more commonly applied here. A minimalist approach to development combined with a deep understanding of harmonic suspension and resolution, come together to create a quasi-static effect that lingers on the mind long after audition.

As organist, Zvonimir Nagy has received the second prize in the César Franck/Olivier Messiaen International Organ Competition in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and is Associate Professor of Music at the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If you enjoy listening to pipe organ music and would like to hear something that is the complete polar opposite to say, the Bach Toccatas, but is just as enriching a listening experience, then this is for you.

Jean-Yves Duperron - March 2018