Eugène Reuchsel: La Vie du Christ; Bouquet de France
Simon Niemiński's second recording of music by Reuchsel, of two late works. La Vie du Christ is his only explicitly sacred composition, while Bouquet de France is a collection of organ-solo settings of French folk songs, all in Reuchsel's lush romantic and pianistic style. Folk song remains the common element linking both these two works, and his Promenades en Provence suites (see below.) Recorded during December 2017 on the magnificent Rieger organ of The High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh.
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Simon Niemiński is thoroughly attuned to this music, and presents magical performances, clearly undaunted by its enormous technical demands - demands which never impinge on the listener’s consciousness; Niemiński never once lets on that this music is actually extremely difficult to play.... The music is marvellous, the playing is wonderful and the recording superb. (MusicWeb International)
The music draws heavily on French folk tunes and is worth exploring in these engaging performances (Lark Reviews)
The character of the pieces range from meditative and prayerful to grand and triumphant. [...] the austere depiction of the Crucifixion, for instance, is a stunning piece of instrumental drama. (Records International)
The present CD finds Nieminski in typically brilliant form in two late works from the 1980s. (Choir & Organ)
Alfred Hollins and Friends
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Hollins, a programme of works by him and by the dedicatees of a selection of his pieces: Frank Heddon Bond, Bernard Johnson and Ernest MacMillan, and Edwin Lemare and William Wolstenholme whose 150th anniversaries were also in 2015.
... the performances themselves, which are unsurprisingly first rate ... Simon Nieminski's already impressive reputation with Romantic and contemporary organ music will certainly not suffer as a result of this CD. (Sydney Organ Journal)
The program contains five works by Hollins that alternate with ones by composers those works were dedicated to - a clever and very effective bit of programming ... Nieminski handles it [the organ] superbly and plays this music with understanding and virtuosity ... A delightful recording. (American Record Guide)
The British organist Simon Niemiński plays on the organ of Third Baptist Church, St Louis, Missouri – very appropriate for the Lemare. Every syllable of his fine playing can be savoured... (MusicWeb International)
Nieminski brings out a delightful air of the saucy seaside postcard in such irreverent delights as Johnson’s Elfentanz or the Hollins Concert Toccata in B flat. (Choir and Organ)
Throughout this recording, Niemiński shows dazzling technique with a polished sense of melodic interpretation. (The Diapason)
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford: Organ works
Following his landmark recording of Giles Swayne's Stations of the Cross, organist Simon Niemiński returns to the Resonus label with an engaging recital of organ works by Charles Villiers Stanford. Showcasing another of Edinburgh's rich and varied crop of instruments, Niemiński performs on the unspoilt 1913 Brindley and Foster organ of Freemasons' Hall, right in the heart of the city. Recently given a full restoration in 2009 by Forth Pipe Organs, this organ is almost unique as a complete, unaltered example of this significant and pioneering organ builder, and provides an ideal vehicle for authentic performances of this music.
Credits © 2014 Resonus Limited Ⓟ 2014 Resonus Limited.
For more information and to purchase the download click on www.resonusclassics.com/nieminski-stanford-organ-works.
Nieminski is a dependable guide through some of the backwaters of Stanford’s output and his whole programme is a pleasure to listen to. (International Record Review)
Nieminski's readings are fluent and sympathetic. The 'Marcia eroica', Op. 189 No. 2 has an infectious momentum and the 'Idyll', Op. 121 No. 2, a sense of gentle poetry. (Gramophone)
Stanford's mahogany-tinged sonorities and lean, lithe melodies are lent brightness and bite by a highly individual 1913 Brindley and Foster ... with Nieminski's supple, sinewy and sensitive playing perfectly attuned to instrument and music. (Choir and Organ)
Here's a must for the organ aficionado ... Simon's innate musicianship and sensitivity, coupled with his prodigious technique, make this an outstanding contribution to the recorded organ repertoire. (Organists' Review)
These are sensitive performances, a fine organ – a lovely growly 1913 instrument, restored in 2009 and just right for the music. (MusicWeb International)
... unparalleled technique and generous musical imagination ... (Classical Ear)
Giles Swayne: Stations of the Cross
Resonus Classics is proud to release the world premiere recording of Giles Swayne's epic organ work Stations of the Cross. Making his Resonus debut with Stations is the Edinburgh-based organist Simon Niemiński. Recorded on the 2007 Matthew Copley organ of St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral in Edinburgh - where Simon is the resident organist - this extensive solo work is at the pinnacle of virtuosic organ repertoire, with each of the fourteen movements representing an episode in the story of the Passion of Christ. Composed during autumn 2004 and early 2005, and at one hour in length, Stations is one of the most significant and substantial organ works to have been commissioned in recent times. Focusing particularly on those human aspects of the Passion most important to Swayne, he has created an intensely powerful and descriptive work that surely ranks among the most important works of the organ repertoire.
Credits: ©2013 Resonus Limited; Ⓟ 2013 Resonus Limited.
For more information and to purchase the download click on www.resonusclassics.com/swayne-stations-of-the-cross.
With Giles Swayne before recording sessions.
Swayne’s visionary writing is imbued with a level of powerful dramatic imagery that requires a highly resourceful organ and a particularly inspiring player to bring it off to its full effect. It gets both here ... For his part, Simon Niemiński champions this vast score with a compelling intensity that captures the visionary scope of Swayne’s writing magnificently. (Gramophone)
Simon Nieminski is as dynamic an advocate as could be hoped for in music that requires the player to convey a narrative of emotional and technical complexity and his use of the organ is well judged. (International Record Review)
Nieminski gives a virtuoso performance, one that is admirable in every way, and he gets the best out of his organ as well as bringing out the dramatic subtlety of Swayne's work. Nieminski's pacing is very fine, allowing the piece to develop naturally with moments of contemplation and quiet, but still with an underlying dramatic flow. (Planet Hugill)
[Nieminski] plays supremely well. (Cross Rhythms)
As one would expect, Simon Nieminski plays this hugely difficult score brilliantly. (Choir and Organ)
Eugène Reuchsel: Promenades en Provence
Recorded on the Kilgen organ of the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis, St Louis, Missouri.
This is a splendid release ...There is plenty of variety here ... The baby-faced photo of the performer belies a maturity of approach and technique. He lingers where needed and articulates clearly enough to avoid the muddiness so often encountered in reverberant spaces (about 6 seconds here). These are colorful tapestries cast in late 19th Century harmony with frequent touches of impressionism performed with taste and sensitivity. There is a lot of poetry here. (American Record Guide)
Simon Nieminski’s playing is utterly convincing and at one stroke establishes him as a recording artist of the first rank (Organists' Review)
Edward Shippen Barnes: Symphonies
Recorded on the 1937 Wicks organ of St Mary's RC Cathedral, Peoria, Illinois.
Pro Organo and Simon Nieminski must be commended for searching out this music and having the courage to record it - would that other companies would make the efforts to record music which is both unusual and worthy. (The Organ)
The young British organist Simon Nieminski shows what splendid music we have here, which has been unjustly neglected of late. His playing is exactly right for the style of music, heavily reminiscent of Vierne ... Thanks to Simon Nieminski for drawing this to our attention! (The Diapason)
Sir Edward meets Father Willis
Elgar transcriptions, including the complete Enigma Variations, recorded on the 'Father' Willis organ of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh.
Romantic organ playing at its best. (The Organ)
The Organ at the Met
Recorded on the 2007 Matthew Copley organ of St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh.
A triumph for both and organist. (The Organ, Star Recording Winter 2008.)
... a wide variety of works that will please a general audience, all performed with the utmost of musical integrity. (Journal of Association of Anglican Musicians)
Longhorns of Abilene
Recorded on the Nichols & Simpson organ of First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas.
Simon’s playing is exemplary in taste, technique and style. (Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians)
Dupré’s Chorale and Fugue, Opus 57 began as an improvisation ... Nieminski plays this with assurance, and his interpretation compares favorably with Filsell's ... Reger’s immensely challenging Opus 57 will tax the patience of most listeners ... Reger confided to its dedicatee Gustav Beckmann that this was his most difficult composition. If you do like heavy German polyphony, you'll love this, done with aplomb by Nieminski. (The American Record Guide)
The Organ at the Grand Lodge
Recorded on the newly restored (2010) 1913 Brindley & Foster organ of Freemasons' Hall, Edinburgh.
Frederick Bridge’s Flowers of the Forest and Eugene Thayer’s Auld Lang Syne Variations tap deeply and charmingly into Scottish emotions. Jeremy Cull’s atmospheric arrangement of the Adagio from Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony adds ballast to the programme, as does Parry’s Wanderer Toccata and Fugue. A flavoursome disc. (Choir & Organ)
Recorded on Wicks Opus 6295, 'demonstration' organ, at the Wicks Organ Co. factory, Highland, Illinois
Sounds of Francis Jackson
Recorded on the Father Willis organ of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh.
A superlative performance of the highest quality. (The Organ)
Simon Nieminski ... served as an organ scholar of York Minster for two years, a useful experience for a player with this kind of enthusiasm for the music of Francis Jackson. Nieminski plays with authority, energy, and accuracy, and succeeds in making the Willis/Harrison and Harrison at St Mary’s sound a thrilling and subtle English romantic instrument ... Indeed, in the Improvisation on a Chant, which was originally a pre-Evensong improvisation on a chant by John Goss, later transcribed from a tape, Nieminski produces both sound and atmosphere of the York Minster instrument in liturgical mood - an uncanny moment. (Organists' Review)
Those already familiar with Francis Jackson's works will relish this disc, but the quality of music and performance should appeal to a wider audience ... Nieminski clearly has a great affection for Jackson's music and his performance displays all the fluidity and lyricism demanded. (Choir and Organ)
Throughout the recording Simon Nieminski’s playing is superb, showing a thorough understanding of each piece. His performance captures with assuredness the character of each composition on this outstanding recording. (The Diapason)
This album can be streamed on Spotify - click here.
Organs of Edinburgh
Two tracks from St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral:
Charles-Marie Widor (1844–1937) Symphony no 6 in G minor, Op 42 – i. Allegro
Giles Swayne (b. 1946) Mr Bach’s Bottle Bank
Hear my words, ye people
The choir of St Mary’s (Scottish Episcopal) Cathedral, directed by Simon Niemiński, singing a programme of choral music inspired by hymn texts, both accompanied and unaccompanied, spanning 4 centuries of the Anglican choral tradition.