David Briggs

Concert Organist and Composer

Recordings - 1

NEW! - Edward Elgar - Symphonies 1 & 2

David Briggs plays the Tickell organ at Worcester Cathedral
APCD4016
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Disk 1:
Symphony No. 1 in A flat Op.55 - transcribed by David Briggs
Disk2:
Symphony No. 2 in E flat Op.63 - transcribed by David Briggs

    

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Edward Elgar - Symphonies 1 & 2
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NEW! - Mahler Symphony No 3

Double CD (Transcribed for Organ by David Briggs)
Chestnut 010
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Recorded at a live concert on 21st May 2011 on the Wiehl-Orgel in the church of St Katherine, Oppenheim, Germany

    

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Mahler Symphony No 3
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David Briggs Live...

... on the Taylor and Boody Organ at St. Joseph's Chapel, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
Chestnut 009
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Prelude and Fugue in E min BWV 548 'The Wedge' - JS Bach

Kommst du nun, Jesu, von Himmel herunter BWV 650 - JS Bach

Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 659 - JS Bach

Herr Gott nun schleuss den Himmel auf BWV 617 - JS Bach

In dir ist Freude BWV 615 - JS Bach

Symphonie Improvisee - David Briggs

    

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David Briggs Live...
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Vierne 3rd Symphony and Widor 5th Symphony

Played on the stunning 1889 Cavaillé-Coll organ of St Sernin, Toulouse and previously released as the cover CD for the BBC Music Magazine, this recording is now available as a high quality download. Free programme notes are also available.

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Louis Vierne - Symphony No.3 in F# minor, Op.28

Charles-Marie Widor - Symphony No.5 in F minor, Op.42 No.1

Improvisations by David Briggs on the bell chime of St Sernin. (Lourdes hymn)

    

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Vierne 3rd Symphony and Widor 5th Symphony

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Symphony No 6 - Gustav Mahler

Live recording - St Katharinen Oppenheim Mahler-Festival 2011
Chestnut 008
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Recorded on the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustav Mahler on 18th February.

1-Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig - 24:48

2-Andante moderato - 15:57

3-Scherzo: Wuchtig - 13:17

4-Finale: Sostenuto - Allegro moderato - Allegro energico - 34:45

    

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Symphony No 6 - Gustav Mahler
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Cistercian Chamades

There's nothing quite as overwhelming as the sound of a great pipe organ in a great acoustic...
Chestnut 007
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Built in 1962 (just like David Briggs!), the magnificent Klais organ in Himmerod Abbey, Germany is one of the finest organs in Europe, and is bathed in the abbey’s remarkable 11 second acoustic. David plays an exciting and varied programme containing music from four centuries, and finishes with a major symphonic improvisation, based on 'The Old Hundredth'. The sleeve contains numerous colour photos of both the abbey and the instrument as well as details about the recording sessions, music and instrument. Don't miss this opportunity to really put your sound system through its paces…

Grand Choeur Dialogué - Eugène Gigout - 5:34
Fugue on the Magnificat, BWV 733 - J.S.Bach - 5:29
Largetto in F sharp minor - Samuel Sebastian Wesley - 6:18
Fantasia and Fugue in G - Sir Charles H H Parry - 11:10
Scherzetto (Sonata in C minor) - Percy Whitlock - 4:30
Rhapsody in C# minor - Herbert Howells - 9:27
Popular Song (Façade Suite) - Sir William Walton - 2:12
Phantasie on 'Hallelujah, Gott zu loben' - Max Reger - 16:05
Improvisation on 'The Old Hundredth' - David Briggs - 18:14

    

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Cistercian Chamades
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Mass For Notre Dame

See the Hyperion Website
Hyperion CDA67808
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This disc includes Briggs’ Messe pour Notre Dame, and features four movements of David Briggs’ own improvisations - the Introït, Offertoire, Élévation and Sortie. Very much aligned with French liturgical practice, this is Briggs captured in the heat of the improvised, unedited moment. These improvisations display a masterful range of mood and colour. There is delicacy, reflection and repose, alongside mighty bombast and truly gothic 'shock and awe'. Listening to them is an uniquely thrilling musical experience.
Also included are some of Briggs’ much more Anglophone anthems. The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, who have been winning increasing praise for their Hyperion recordings, perform with their inspirational director Stephen Layton, and the composer, of course, at the organ.

    

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Mass For Notre Dame
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Joie de Vivre

David Briggs plays organ music by J S Bach on the 1999 Taylor and Boody Organ, Opus 35 at the Presbyterian Church, Danville, KY, USA

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Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 547
Chorale Prelude Chorale Prelude: Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele, BWV654
‘Little’ Fugue in G minor, BWV578
Concerto in A minor, BWV 593
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 689
Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, BWV655
Chorale Prelude: Kyrie Gott, heiliger Geist, BWV671
Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659
Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter, BWV 650
Toccata and Fugue in D major, BWV532

    

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Joie de Vivre
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Bombarde 32!

DVD - David Briggs plays the Widor Toccata on the Organ of St Sernin, Toulouse

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This DVD evolved rather unexpectedly during the final moments of the BBC Music Magazine recording session of Widor's 5th and Vierne 3rd organ symphonies.
Two days of sheer exhilaration inspired by the great Cavaille-Coll in the haunting atmosphere of Europe's largest Norman basilica let us to try to capture the moment on film.
The BBC Music Magazine features the CD as the cover disc for its April 2008 edition
Shipping 20th April 2008

    
Bombarde 32!
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The Art of Transcription:

Schubert Eight and Tchaikovsky Four
Chestnut 003
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Following on the success of David's transcription of Mahler Five, David has transcribed Schubert's Eighth and Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphonies and recorded them on the Blackburn Cathedral Organ.

Back in the days before home sound systems, the organ transcription became a very effective way of making concert works more readily available to the public. Consequently there were many itinerant organists who devoted themselves to playing transcriptions of symphonic music throughout Europe and America.
This release is an outstanding example of what you might have heard at one of their recitals. It's entitled "The Art of Organ Transcription" and with good reason. That's because successful sounding organ transcriptions of symphonic works like the two here are indeed an art form requiring considerable creativity as well as virtuosity. The creative aspect involves arranging the many orchestral parts so they can be played with just two hands and two feet as well as picking the right combinations of pipes (known as registration) to convincingly mimic the endless variety of instrumental colors. But that's only the beginning, because it then takes a real virtuoso to faithfully execute what inevitably turns out to be an extremely complex score.
British-born David Briggs is one of the best practitioners of this art alive today, as evidenced by the standing ovation he got at a recent recital at Washington National Cathedral featuring some of his own transcriptions. Now, thanks to this disc, those of you who weren't there can get an idea of what an exciting concert that was. Granted, he plays a different instrument here, but the Blackburn Cathedral organ is a fabulous instrument with outstanding tonal characteristics that in some ways make it even better suited to the two symphonies on this disc.
Most readers of these pages have probably heard both of them all too frequently, but you'll find they take on new life as transcribed for organ and become old wine in new bottles, so to speak. The program begins with the only two extant movements from the Unfinished Symphony (No. 8) of Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Listen to how effectively Briggs captures the alternately foreboding and lyrically moving passages in the first one, as well as the innocent and highly assertive ones in the second. Also, the dynamics on "The Pope of Instruments" as Hector Berlioz called the organ are not to be believed. That's particularly true of the next selection,
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's (1840-1893) fourth symphony. Briggs very effectively conveys the full emotional essence of that fateful opening. His renditions of the slow movement and following scherzo are magnificently registrated and played. The finale is something else again, and quite mind-boggling when you consider that this is a one man operation. Note the incredible clarity with which he executes those complex running passages, and how successfully he manages to "organize" what you're used to hearing in the concert hall. The final coda must be one of the most exciting organ moments on silver disc, barring none.
These spectacular transcriptions and performances plus good recorded sound guarantee anyone getting this release a thrilling listening experience.
By the way, Briggs is also noted for his stunning improvisations.
Also, be on the lookout for an upcoming recording of David doing his transcription of Gustav Mahler's sixth symphony. He included the slow movement from this in his Washington recital, and it was something of a religious experience!

Bob McQuiston, former reviewer for Tower Records, Washington DC

    

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The Art of Transcription:
Order CD for £12.99
Download CD booklet free! Buy and download mp3 for £9.99

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