Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett



Victorian and Edwardian Favourites
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) arr Sir George MARTIN Imperial March
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Sonata No 6 in D
MORANDI (?) arr W T BEST Bell Rondo
Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Fantasia and Fugue in G
Alfred HOLLINS (1865-1942) A Trumpet Minuet
T J MORGAN (1885-1950) Fantasia on Twrgwyn
Percy WHITLOCK (1903-1946) Folk Tune and Scherzo from Five Short Pieces
Edwin LEMARE (1865-1934) Andantino in D Flat
Franz von SUPPE (1819-1895) transcribed EDWIN EVANS Overture; Poet and Peasant
Huw Tregelles Williams, organ
Recorded Morriston Tabernacle Treforys
No recording dates given
SAIN SCD 2260 [67.29]

In this thoroughly engaging disc Huw Tregelles Williams revisits some popular classics and manages to add a couple of surprises. Elgar’s Imperial March broadens from its circumspect opening into idiomatic amplitude – the arrangement by Sir George Martin, the then organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, preserves Elgar’s nobility and jaunty confidence of utterance. Mendelssohn’s final sonata for organ, the sixth, is a set of variations and fugue on a chorale, composed toward the end of his life. Reflective and inward its Bachian inspiration is entirely characteristic of Mendelssohn, whose fugal and contrapuntal writing is endlessly fascinating. Williams vests the music with a suitable gravity, managing the transition at 5.46 with skill, and allowing the subsequent grand statement to emerge with splendid vigour. The fugal passage, beginning at 8.53, is delineated with care and clarity and the final movement in D major – quiet and once more reflective - is paced with real understanding.

W T Best’s arrangement of the obscure Morandi’s piece is a frisky, frivolous and stomping rondo. With its trumpet figuration, swell box and fanfares it is five minutes of high jinks, never overdone by Williams, until the two final Herculean chords bring the piece to a shattering conclusion. Parry’s Fantasia and Fugue in G had a convoluted history. Sain’s notes are somewhat vague on the matter but according to Jeremy Dibble’s biography of the composer the work had its origins in 1877 and 1878 but was shelved and only exhumed by Parry in 1912. He then replaced the original fugue with a newly composed one. A technically and expressively difficult piece to bring off – despite its relative brevity – it is a welcome addition to this disc and adds ballast to the programme. Parry is followed by his younger British colleague, the blind organ virtuoso, Alfred Hollins. His Trumpet Minuet doffs its hat, musically, to Jeremiah Clarke and features the attractive Tromba stop. There is a sturdy, Beechamesque swagger about it that is immediately attractive.

The Fantasia on Twrgwyn is a fine and rhetorical piece based on the hymn tune by the nineteenth century John Edwards of Llangadog. It opens in grandly dramatic fashion, uncompromising, granite-faced, allowing some treble runs before restating its higher purpose. The piece was written featuring prescribed registrations - the Vox Humana and the Tremulant make their rather extraordinary presence abundantly clear – and these act as contrastive musical features in this passionate, almost theatrical work, redolent of the Welsh revivalist preachers, a point well made in the sleeve notes. Whitlock’s Folk Tune appears as balm after the thunderous assaults of T.J. Morgan; this is twilit music. His Scherzo, by contrast, sounds like a transcription of an orchestral piece – a bouncy staccato with imitative orchestral passages.

And so to Edwin Lemare, without whom a disc of this kind could not be complete. The Andantino in D Flat makes its potted-palm-and-hat-box appearance to good effect; a million seller in its day Williams notes that in the second appearance of Lemare’s immortal melody the organist has to play on two manuals simultaneously with one hand, using the thumb only on the second manual. Finally the Suppé, which reflects an era of orchestral transcriptions - on this occasion one by Edwin Evans, who was an organist as well as being better known as a critic and writer.

Williams has written the sleeve notes; the sound is good but no track timings are given and no individual movements are separately tracked.

Jonathan Woolf

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