Like any long-serving Cathedral music director I have performed the music
of Stanford and Parry on innumerable occasions with devotion and affection.
All the same a CD of music by Stanford and his contemporaries could look
like something of a grey area, peopled by non-too-eminent Victorians and
Fortunately the title is misleading, and the list of featured composers runs
into the mid-20th century and beyond, including Bairstow, Cocker, Harris,
and even a couple of Whitlock pieces (Divertimento and Carol,
played with haunting Delian beauty at St. James', Muswell Hill). This is
one of three instruments used: the others, St. Andrew's, Plymouth, and The
A lion takes pride of place on the cover - The British Lion courtesy of SB
pictures. It seems appropriate. for this is a collection of British music
played on the right sort of instruments in suitable colourful, romantic style.
Listen for example to the two Bairstow tracks to see what I mean: the
Prelude full-blooded with reeds and diapasons, and the Evening
Song so warm and evocative. There are old favourites such as Norman Cocker's
Tuba Tune in an inspirational performance, and three of Stanford's
lesser known Op. 88 Preludes, beginning with the delightful one 'in
form of a minuet' (delicious fluting sounds )
Stanford's exciting Fantasia and Toccata begins this 78 minute sequence
of pieces with scarcely an unattractive number among them. (I haven't warmed
to the Wood Prelude yet but may well do so). Harris's two short pieces,
unknown to me turned out quite charming.
An all-round winner this CD, with some wonderful playing most realistically
captured. Highly recommended.
and a review of the same disc by Rob Barnett:-
Jennifer Bate positively revels in the elaborate musculature of STANFORD's
Fantasia and Toccata; the latter rivalling Reger. The 'Oirish
'Bhoyo's' Op. 88 numbers 1-3 agreeably round out the recital. However
Stanford's music is by no means the most notable aspect of this anthology.
The WHITLOCK Carol and Divertimento overlap with the third
(all-Whitlock) disc in this trio of ASV QUICKSILVAs. The Carol draws
on a complex and light-handed palette while the Divertimento celebrates
in mercurial sentimentality. HARVEY GRACE's Psalm Tune Postlude on
Martyrs is a dignified stroll. Parry's famed Wanderer Toccata and
Fugue reaches across time and borders to Franz Schmidt's organ works
(nicely recorded on Hyperion). CHARLES WOOD's vivid imagination makes his
Prelude on St Mary's one of the stand-out tracks on this disc. Its
darkly magisterial tread verges on the Gothic. GORDON JACOB lights up the
hill-top beacons and cathedral windows with his Festal Flourish -
typically talented and brilliant in effect. W.H HARRIS is represented by
his flighty A Fancy and the soulful Reverie. BAIRSTOW, the
celebrant, is featured in the Prelude in C and his fertile imagination
is represented by his delightful Evening Song.
Three different acoustics are encompassed by this disc: the Brangwyn Hall,
Swansea, St Andrews Parish Church, Plymouth (Whitlock's Alma Mater) and St
James's, Muswell Hill, London. The essence of British concert and ecclesiastical
organ music caught in this and the Elgar disc. An attractively priced (bargain