Climbing into Loft Recordings

James Reel, Fanfare, September, 2000

… Only a few loyal attendants do what they can to make the organ’s voice heard throughout the land, and one of those devotees is Roger Sherman, proprietor of Loft Recordings.

The label’s catalog lists only about 30 titles so far, but the offerings are already remarkably diverse…

Choral music is taking an increasingly prominent place in the catalog too. These offerings can be serious, such as the Seattle a cappella ensemble Opus 7 performing conservative 20th-century music for Advent and Christmas, or whimsical, such as the Choral Scholars of King’s College, Cambridge, in a Christmas survey that leads from William Byrd to Mel Tormé and Paul McCartney…

Sherman’s CDs are of audiophile quality, using minimalist microphone techniques and 24-bit technology. Yet, he insists, “The main requirement for recording the organ is a musical requirement rather than a technical requirement. If you’re an organist, the room you’re in plays as important a role in shaping the musical sound as the instrument itself… The reverberation in the room can fill in the gaps between notes, so it’s these variations of spaces and the speeds of the releases of notes that make the music sound rhetorical and expressive… The other usual problems in recording organs are noisy rooms. People are used to recordings made in dead, dry studios that are extremely quiet, but that’s just the opposite of what you find in churches…”

Obviously, if the king of instruments ever regains its authority in America, Roger Sherman will be one of the powers behind the throne.

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