Gail Archer has released her eighth compact disc, A Russian Journey, featuring works of 19th and 20th century Russian composers: Cesar Cui, Sergej Ljapunov, Alexander Glasunov, Sergej Slonimsky, Alexander Schaversaschvili, and Modest Mussorgsky.
The CD opens with works by Cui: Prelude in G Minor and Prelude in A Major, and closes with Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, a cornerstone of Russian program music. The album includes Ljapunov’s gentle yet complex Prelude in Pastoral, op. 54, followed by Glazunov’s Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, op. 98 reminiscent of Russian Orthodox male choirs. Bookending the recording are works by 20th-century composers Sergei Slonimsky (b.1932) and Alexander Shaversaschvili (1919-2003). Like his predecessors, Slonimsky has done extensive research on the Russian folksong tradition. The Toccata on the program is one of only two of his organ works. Shaversaschvili’s Prelude and Fugue “has an introspective and poignant opening melody that attracted me,” explains Archer. The dynamic arch of the work begins at a quiet whisper and grows to a full, powerful organ at the conclusion.
The project for the CD was inspired by Archer’s concert tours to Russia in 2013 and 2016.
The recording was made on the 53-rank Schlicker organ at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Macon, Georgia.
For information: www.gailarcher.com.