Praise the Lord with Drums and
ALFRED REED Allelujah! Laudamus
WILLS The Vikings
GRAINGER The Power of Rome and the Christian
Pebble Beach Sojourn (premiere
WIDOR Lord, Save Thy People
Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the
What immediately strikes you about this disc is that it seems to
reach out to those who still relish putting their hi-fi through its paces.
I always wondered about that market in the 1990s and even in the 1980s. The
image of the comfortably off man-about-town with the expensive satin-finish
hi-fi is rather 1970s and the cliché has surely moved on to the man
with the top of the range PC.
Whether or not the intention was what it appears to be the choice of repertoire
is totally refreshing. There is not a hint of the routine.
Karg-Elert's piece is a cheery piece of pastiche Baroquery ending with a
rasping blast. The Reed is struck me as a perfunctory piece. The Gigout is
replete with grand over-inflated flourishes - a few links with Saint-Saens
Symphony No. 3. Wills' The Vikings is crashingly Gothic conveying
some feeling of the dread aroused by the Nordic sea-rovers. The Grainger
is a very personal vision including some fascinating organ harmonies.
Dupré's work was written for Verdun in 1937 and is a stark enough
vision with little of comfort. The Widor dates from 1918 and is a stark edifice
for the Great War. The two French war pieces are separated Ron Nelson's sparky
little Pebble Beach. The Weinberger is grippingly joyous. Whenever
I hear this piece I want to hear more by this composer who took up residence
in the USA but seems never otherwise to have registered as a success apart
from in connection Schwanda. Will someone treat us to his Lincoln
Symphony, I wonder.
This is a collection of impact and splendour and deserves attention way beyond
the audiophiles who might be its first port-of-call.