Gregory D'Agostino | Organ Festival - Live Recordings

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Classical: Organ Classical: Concerto Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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Organ Festival - Live Recordings

by Gregory D'Agostino

Dramatic live performances of best-loved classics. Organ solos and concertos with orchestra.
Genre: Classical: Organ
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565
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10:18 album only
2. Albinoni Adagio (with the Orcas Island Festival Players)
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10:07 album only
3. Handel Organ Concerto in F Major (Orcas Festival Players)
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9:25 album only
4. Rachmaninoff Vocalise
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4:17 album only
5. Widor Allegro Vivace (Organ Symphony No. 5)
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10:35 album only
6. Poulenc Organ Concerto (Organ World Festival Orchestra)
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22:54 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
One of America's most exciting concert organists, Gregory D’Agostino has been hailed by The New York Times for his “deft, powerful performances,” and The Washington Post has likewise proclaimed his playing as “brilliant” and “impeccable.” Performing from memory a vast repertoire including the complete organ works of Bach, Liszt, Franck, Handel, Schumann, and Brahms, Mr. D’Agostino generates an electric and thrilling sense of drama that has been hailed as a “stunning, controlled delirium” by The American Organist magazine.

Mr. D'Agostino came to national attention in the U.S. as a concert organist when he performed two different back-to-back memorized concerts for the 100th anniversary of the American Guild of Organists before overflowing crowds of 3,400 at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Church of St. Mary the Virgin. His appearances as soloist with such orchestras as the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Slovak Radio Orchestra have received equal praise. The San Diego Union-Tribune selected his concerts with the Mainly Mozart Orchestra as among San Diego's “memorable performances of the year,” in the company of such eminent artists as the Guarneri String Quartet and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. The Washington Post declared that Mr. D’Agostino’s performance of the Poulenc Organ Concerto displayed “crushing power when needed, and sensitivity to the music’s dark, filmy atmospherics,” and the Charleston Post and Courier has praised his interpretation of Stephen Paulus’ Organ Concerto as “a major accomplishment by any measure.” An acknowledged leader in the performance of new music for the organ, Mr. D'Agostino has collaborated with numerous composers including legendary American composers George Crumb, Milton Babbitt, and Ned Rorem. Of his first-ever performance of Rorem’s complete works for organ, principal New York Times critic Allan Kozinn wrote that Mr. D’Agostino “got to the heart of Mr. Rorem’s writing, the gentle and songlike as well as the robust and purely dexterous.”

Mr. D'Agostino has been a featured artist at South Carolina's Piccolo Spoleto Festival in three different seasons, St. Petersburg International Festival of the Palaces (Russia), Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (Washington), San Diego's Spreckels International Organ Festival, London Association of Organists, Prague Free Organ World Festival (Czech Republic), Schola Cantorum (Paris), Organ Arts Festival (Poland), European-American Festival (Southampton, New York), Olomouc International Organ Festival (Czech Republic), and the Krakow International Organ Festival (Poland). In 2007 Mr. D'Agostino made his second concert tour of Japan to unanimous rave reviews and sold-out audiences.

He has been a featured artist on Public Radio International's "Pipedreams," Radio Prague, Czech National Television, NPR's “The Next Big Thing,” NPR’s “Soundcheck,” and various local Public Radio stations throughout the U.S. He is a prize-winner of two Juilliard Concerto Competitions as well as a New York American Guild of Organists Competition. Among his CDs are Monuments of Germanic Music (Centaur Records), Organ Festival – Live Recordings (Gigue Records), Islands & Vistas (Orcas Records), Dan Locklair's Concerto for Organ and Orchestra (Slovak Radio Orchestra; Albany Records), Babbitt’s Manifold Music (Bridge Records), and Crumb’s Pastoral Drone (Grammy-winning series; Bridge Records). A versatile artist, he has recorded for film including Jonathan Bepler’s massive organ score for Cremaster 2 by acclaimed filmmaker Matthew Barney, which was featured at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and is now part of the permanent collections of both the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

A native of New York City, Mr. D'Agostino was self-taught as a youth and held his first position as a church organist at age nine. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from The Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Jon Gillock and Vernon deTar. While still a student, he served on the faculty of Juilliard and was a Performing Artist with the Lincoln Center Institute. He received the Master's and Bachelor's in organ performance from The Juilliard School, where he also studied harpsichord with Lionel Party. Further organ studies have been with Xavier Darasse, Bernard Lagacé, and Marie-Claire Alain at the Toulouse Organ Academy, France.

Mr. D’Agostino is an active member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and serves on the national committee on Seminary and Denominational Relations. He has given masterclasses for universities and AGO chapters, has given guest lectures at Juilliard and has been on the faculty of numerous Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) programs for young organists, and was Director of New York City’s first POE.


Reviews


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Peter Sarro

Don't Miss This CD!
Mr. D'Agostino seems to have an innate ability to bring out aspects of a composition that were previously hidden with the result that one hears the composition in a new light, so to speak. This was my experience when hearing Mr. D'Agostino play Liszt's well-known Prelude and Fugue for Organ on B-A-C-H which has since changed my opinion of that composition.

Having heard Mr. D'Agostino in person on many occasions all I can say is that his playing is exemplary. The nuances of his playing, a seeming contradiction-in-terms when speaking of the "pipe organ", can only be fully appreciated when heard live.

The famous Bach D Minor Prelude and Fugue for organ has become for Bach what the 5th Symphony is for Beethoven - a signature composition. And although we've heard both composers compositions many times, Mr. D'Agostino gives the D Minor a unique twist in the way certain opening phrases and cadences are ornamented and chords held somewhat longer that what one traditionally night be accustomed to. However, this is not to detract from the performance. Rather, it lends a uniqueness and drama to the performance that are not ordinarily heard.

Albinoni's dark and troubling adagio for strings and organ is a profoundly sad composition. One has to wonder what the composer's inspiration for its creation was. Mr. D'Agostino's performance, along with the Orcas Island Festival Players, is both clean and unpretentious yet sensitive. Balance between the strings and organ are excellent, as well as the organ registration. All instrumental parts are clearly heard and the warmth of the strings is very evident in this recording.

The performance of the Handel organ concerto is very delightful with sparkling registration and excellent string playing that all comes through very well here.

Rachmaninoff's Vocalise has been recorded with many varying ensembles including voice, but hearing it here on the organ is rather unique. Mr. D'Agostino's performance and excellent registration give it a definite Victorian flavor, reminiscent of Caesar Franck, and it is a special treat to here Mr. D'Agostino's rendering of it.

Widor's Allegro Vivace is an intricate and delicate movement from his 5th organ symphony. Mr. D'Agostino's attention to its many details and his overall rendering and registration are outstanding.

What can one say about Poulenc's monumental Concerto for Organ and Strings other than to say that this is a performance you won't want to miss.

Overall, the performances by Mr. D'Agostino and the Orcas Festival Strings are superlative. The recording itself deserves special mention as it captures the excellent playing with clarity and warmth in a difficult to record in acoustical environment.

The only item that seems to have been left out and that would have been a welcome addition is information on the organ itself, the conductor, and the location of the recording.

Overall, these are performances you won't want to miss and a CD you'll want to have for your own collection.

David Eddleman, Composer


I have several of Dr. D'Agostino's organ CDs and am delighted to be able to add one more to this excellent collection. D'Agostino's unique talent, as always, lies in his inventive and colorful registrations which, when coupled with his breathtaking keyboard and pedalboard technique, provide an exciting listening experience that goes beyond the usual organ performance of so many others. At first I thought the list of selections somewhat conventional until I listened to and marveled at the unusual colors he brought to the pieces included. They seemed as fresh and new as the first time I heard them. All the selections took on new meaning in the mixtures D'Agostino came up with. And to top it off with the Poulenc concerto was a brilliant piece of programing. I might add that D'Agostino is to be commended for letting us know that Charles-Marie Widor wrote other music of value than the too-often-repeated "Toccata," the work that seems so favored as a postlude by many ecclesiastical organists wishing to get their congregations out of the church quickly so they can get to an earlier Sunday lunch! If I could have anything more it would be a nonmusical request to have some information about the organs that D'Agostino was playing, even if it were only the makers of the organs and their locations, and perhaps the dates of the recordings. There would have been room for such information on the back of the cover insert by removing the picture collage there. The cover picture of Dr. D'Agostino in action is evocative enough of his dramatic approach to the organ without needing followup elsewhere. Thank you, Dr. D'Agostino, for a fine addition to the recorded organ literature. I will await the next volume with eager anticipation.