In a stunning work for organ and metal instruments, Donald Sutherland demonstrated yesterday afternoon in Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church that there are ways of bringing new life and excitement to organ recitals.
New to Washington was William Albright's "Halo," for organ and metal instruments, in which Sutherland was joined by percussionist Alfonso Pollard. The music employs a variety of gongs, cymbals and xylophone in combination with the organ. Played in different manners, the metal instruments helped to create sonorities whose fascinations were enhanced by changing rhythmic patterns in the music. The organ provided a gorgeous backdrop against which, or in conjunction with, the percussion instruments helped to create mounting excitement. The performance was superb, and the audience's reaction emphatically approving.
An earlier collaboration was heard during the glories of a Corrette suite written for use during "mass in a convent of religious women." Before Sutherland played each of the nine brief sections of the suite, a beautiful soprano voice intoned the plain chant on which the episode was built. The voice of Sutherland's wife, Phyllis Bryn-Judson, was an unexpected bonus.
There was also solid Bach and Widor, while Pollard added a marimba suite by Akira Miyoshi and an Improvisation by Elliott Carter. The minor impression created by Olly Wilson's "Expansion" for organ all but disappeared under the immense impact of the Albright.