Complete Works for organ
Variations on a Recitative
Schulze Organ of St Bartholomew’s Church, Armley
‘Tom Bell demonstrates great virtuosity and musicality in his playing and I look forward to hearing more fine recordings of this player.’
Sydney Organ Journal May 2016
‘Bell is a brilliant player; and the organ in St Bartholomew’s Church in Armley, Leeds, England, is a fine 1869 Schultze instrument, rebuilt in 1905 by Binns of Bramley and restored in 2004 by Harrison and Harrison. He delivers a splendid account of the Schoenberg...’
American Record Guild July/August 2016
Featured in Sunday Times May 1st 2016
'Early in his career, Schoenberg declared the organ obsolete. With his Variations on a Recitative for that instrument, he had a change of heart. The 1941 piece is compelling and densely worked, its tonal leanings cementing Schoenberg's links with Brahms. The latter's late 11 Chorale Preludes, together with his Bach-like earlier works, complete Bell's confident programme.’
...his performance of Schmücke dich and Herzlich tut mich verlangen (to name but two) are totally sublime and really seem to capture the inevitably poignant nature of this set.
Schoenberg’s Variations are a veritable tour de force and Tom Bell performs them flawlessly and seems at one with the style. Overall this is a most interesting and compelling release from Regent. I warmly recommend it.’
Organists’ Review September 2016
A unique, but highly appropriate, coupling of the complete works for solo organ by Johannes Brahms, with Variations on a Recitative – Arnold Schoenberg’s only work for solo organ, and a virtuoso masterpiece of the twentieth-century organ literature.
Played by the brilliant young organist, Tom Bell, on the historic organ of St Bartholomew’s Church, Armley in Leeds.
Tom Bell draws together the virtuoso, lyrical, and contrapuntal elements of Brahms’ organ works, strongly influenced by JS Bach, and the startlingly similar qualities and influences in Schoenberg’s major organ work. The relationship between these three towering figures in German music across three centuries will be a revelation.
Originally built for a large private residence on the outskirts of Leeds in 1869 by the German organ builder Edmund Schulze, the organ was subsequently enlarged and moved to St Bartholomew’s in 1879 by his younger brother, Eduard. In 2004 the organ was fully restored by Harrison and Harrison of Durham, and the late 19th-century German pedigree and tonal structure of this large instrument is ideal for this repertoire.
Tom Bell studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Kevin Bowyer, and in Amsterdam with Jacques van Oortmerssen. His repertoire is broad but he harbours a particular love of new music, something which has led him to premiere many pieces in the last few years.
Excerpts from reviews of Tom Bell's previous recording on Regent
‘… brilliantly played here by Tom Bell on the organ of Durham Cathedral, an instrument that seems ideally suited to it’
REGCD409 American Record Guide, July-August 2013
"This is a marvellous recording, full of light, from a charismatic and virtuosic musician."
REGCD409 Organists' Review, June 2013
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–97)
Prelude and Fugue in G minor, WoO 10 7:15
Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op 122 33:34
Mein Jesu, der du mich 4:20
Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen 2:53
O Welt, ich muss dich lassen 3:00
Herzlich tut mich erfreuen 1:53
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele 2:35
O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen 1:55
O Gott, du frommer Gott 4:06
Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen 3:05
Herzlich tut mich verlangen 2:04
Herzlich tut mich verlangen (second setting) 4:11
O Welt, ich muss dich lassen (second setting) 3:32
Prelude and Fugue in A minor, WoO 9 5:44
Chorale Prelude and Fugue O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid, WoO 7 8:58
Chorale Prelude 2:12
Fugue in A flat minor, WoO 8 8:41
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874–1951)
Variations on a Recitative, Op 40 17:02
Theme (Lento) 0:58
Var I 0:57
Var II 0:53
Var III 0:43
Var IV 1:15
Var V 0:50
Var VI 1:35
Var VII 0:33
Var VIII 0:17
Var IX 0:59
Var X 1:39
Total Playing time: 81:17