Although the Walt Disney Concert Hall's iconoclastic pipe organ is one of the hall's principal visual drawing cards, it isn't featured much this season aside from four organ recitals, a Halloween program and, way off in June 2006, the Poulenc Organ Concerto. So perhaps the scarcity of opportunities, plus the lure of hearing world-class, New Zealand-born organist Dame Gillian Weir -- and reasonable ticket prices -- contributed to a nearly full house for the season's first organ recital Sunday night.
Of all her numerous achievements, Dame Gillian might be most renowned for her devotion to Olivier Messiaen. She has recorded the composer's organ output twice, and her excellent 1994 survey was recently reissued on the Priory label with three newly recorded, posthumously published pieces. Alas, Weir bypassed Messiaen on Sunday, but we did get a highly varied selection of mostly brief pieces that exploited a range of this organ's colors and power.
After leading off with Joseph Bonnet's imposing Variations de Concert, Weir quickly scaled down the volume with featherweight wind stops in six Renaissance dances from the Pierre Attaingnant collection. Her rendition of J.S. Bach's Trio Sonata No. 4 (BWV 528) retained the light voicing, maintaining legato phrasings and a clear-cut projection of the work's three intertwining lines.