August Gottfried Ritter (1811-1885) is no household name, but to organists he one of the most significant figures in the history of their instrument; while his three-volume method of playing Kunst des Orgelspiels becoming a source of reference in Germany and elsewhere, his Geschichte des Orgelspiels compendium established his renown through bringing to light composers from the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, some of whom had already been forgotten by the time it was published in 1884. Today he is regarded as the founder of the modern German organ school. Placing a selection of rare works alongside his more famous organ music, this collection forms a unique tribute to the German composers genius. The four Organ Sonatas are first to be presented, pieces which are all cyclical in nature, with Op.23 forming his largest composition for organ, a work of vast proportions that was dedicated to Liszt and which includes Ritters debut use of organ toccata form.
You're presently reading about what may be the best album of 2007, hands down, by the most under-accorded American musical genius. Real murmurs, believable ones, came with Josh Ritter's 2006 album, Animal Year, suggesting that the Idahoan is today's Bruce Springsteen, today's Bob Dylan. He's never sounded more the part than on Historical Conquests, the follow-up to Animal. Ritter's tripping over his syllables and allusions on the opener, "To the Dogs or Whoever", dropping biblical and historical images like a fresh-faced Dylan. Except here, Ritter throws in an organ-fueled, ride-cymbal-crashing, drum-hefty clatter. It's majestic, and it's only the first three minutes. Recorded between stints on a never-ending tour, Historical reflects Ritter on the road, quick witted, a master of phraseology and of imagery. Horns show up as color, giving Ritter a soulful vibe on "Right Moves", a raucous funkiness on "Rumors," and a doleful cloudiness on "The Temptation of Adam".