Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King

Issue 359 – January 2018

(CD) Nicholas Martin – Light Fantastic
Running Time 77 minutes – Price £11.95

Nicholas Martin - Light Fantastic
Nicholas Martin – Light Fantastic

Nicholas Martin has two releases this November, the first one is a compilation which plucks the best light classical pieces from his various recordings and places them neatly together on one CD. Penny Weedon did the same thing in 2014 with her “In Classic Style” CD, but this pushes that to the limit with seventy-seven minutes worth of some of the most popular classical pieces and virtually all of them instantly recognisable. All but three of the tracks are recorded on Nick’s most recent Technics model, the FA-1, plus there are three Wurlitzer tracks from his tenure at Turners Musical Merry-Go-Round.

As you would expect, Nick’s playing is excellent throughout and shows what the FA-1 can sound like in the capable hands (and feet) of an expert. It’s far better to listen to someone who knows what they’re doing on an older organ, than someone who doesn’t on the latest model! The orchestral presets of the Technics may not be as ultra-realistic as the new keyboards, but when there’s a lot going on in the arrangements, it can hold its own. Even on sparse tracks like “Meditation” when the solo violin is laid bare, it still sounds impressive. The (sx-)FA-1 was released in the mid-1990s, with the first CD release being Phil Kelsall’s “My Way” in 1996, with Nicks first recording following in 2001 with “My Concerto For You”.

The dexterity on the opening “Sleeping Beauty Waltz” is remarkable enough, until you hear track two and “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” then we get “Warsaw Concerto” and so on… Every track on the CD is pretty noteworthy and even though I’m not really a fan of compilations (or complete classical CDs for that matter), this is a stand-out recording which is a joy to listen to. As it’s a classical selection, it doesn’t feature the drawbar side of things, just the orchestral sounds of the organ.

FULL TRACKS: Sleeping Beauty Waltz • Flight of the Bumble Bee • Warsaw Concerto • Czardas • Meditation • March of the Toreadors • Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major • National Emblem March • Waltz of the Flowers • Arrival of the Queen of Sheba • Trumpet Tune • Nimrod • William Tell Overture – Finale • Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves • Hungarian Dance No.5 • Prelude in Classic Style • Rondo Alla Turca • Gabriel’s Oboe • Maple Leaf Rag • Legend of the Glass Mountain • Pomp & Circumstance No.4 • Blue Danube Waltz • Toccata in F

Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.