Read Allan Kozinn’s review of one of our, and his, favorite organists, Harold Stover. If you didn’t know, Allan was a music critic for The New York Times.
Harold Stover was for many years an important figure in New York City organ circles, but in 1992, he left Manhattan for Portland, where he seems to have been thriving, not only as an organist and choir director – he conducts the excellent Renaissance Voices – but as a composer as well. Having heard Stover play some of his colorful, inventive music in New York, I was hoping he might include a recent work or two at his recital on Thursday afternoon, when he played on the Portland Conservatory’s Noonday Concert Series at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church.
As it turned out, he chose not to play anything of his own this time, but what he offered instead was hardly cause for complaint. His program was devoted mostly to the music of Bach, with a work each by Johann Pachelbel and Georg Böhm, two of Bach’s most important and influential predecessors. Including those pieces was a thoughtful touch: By adding context and perspective to Stover’s Bach performances, they transformed the program into a concise, 40-minute overview of Bach’s world.