Gillian Weir Plays the 1861 William Hill Mulholland Grand Organ in the Ulster Hall, Belfast
A new 2-CD release of Gillian Weir performing on the Mulholland Grand Organ in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, is now available, the CDs being produced from digital recordings from 1983 that were released at that time on a double-LP record set. (This is the same instrument used in her performance of the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony and the Stanford Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra.) This instrument represents a unique chapter in the organ's history in that it perfectly displays the ideal of the town hall organ. Built in 1861 by William Hill, it was created in the era where it fulfilled civic duties and provided public entertainment as well as traditional organ functions; the Hall still has a vibrant organ program today.
The CD booklet contains photographs and articles about the instrument and its history as well as insightful commentary on the music written by Gillian Weir herself.
“Every time I put a Gillian Weir CD into the player, I know that I am about to have a musical experience... this is a release to savour, and to whet the apetite,” The Organ, 2006
“The 1861 four-manual William Hill Mullholland organ in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, has a rich, singing ‘organo pleno’ and more colour and charisma than 21st-century instruments of similar size. Gillian Weir clearly revels in the versatility and vitality of this noble beast and the result is playing from her of the highest order. She offers a mouth-watering programme of some of the finest European organ repertoire from six different countries and four centuries. The two CDs include works by Bach, Bridge, Couperin, Dupré, Petr Eben, Franck, Frescobaldi, Mendelssohn and Messiaen. This recording was originally released on LP in 1983 on the Michael Woodward label, a company active in the 1980s that produced some excellent recordings, some of which were reviewed in The Gramophone. It's good news that Priory Records have acquired the label and they've done a superb job with this first reissue with digital remastering and the reproduction of the original, comprehensive sleeve-notes.” Christopher Nickol, Gramophone, September 2005
Priory Records(external link) PRCD 6000