> Edwin Lemare [PS]: Classical CD Reviews- June2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Organ Symphony No 1 in G Minor Opus 35; The Cuckoo (Summer-Sketches, Opus 73)
MENDELSSOHN, Transcr. LEMARE ed. FISHER: The Hebrides Overture. ALFRED HOLLINS: Concert Overture in C Major
Roger Fisher (organ)
JAV RECORDINGS JAV 128A (57 mins. Approx).


From Mr Fisher at The Old Chapel, Trelogan, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 9BD (tel/fax 01745 561072) £10.00 plus p & p.

The disc features two late Romantic organist/composers having Yorkshire associations. Hollins was born in Hull and Lemare was for some years Organist of Sheffield Cathedral. However both became touring recitalists and Lemare eventually settled in the United States, so it is appropriate that this recording is made on the 1930 Skinner organ at St Peter’s Morristown, New Jersey (the booklet summarises its history but does not print its specification).

The main work here is Lemare’s First Organ Symphony, some 35 minutes long. The booklet notes various influences, among them Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Guilmant, though the breadth of the Symphony’s outer movements (the finale is a well worked fugue) suggests Elgar to this reviewer. Indeed it dates from the same year as the Enigma Variations. The Adagio is memorably tuneful and the Scherzo energetic without being especially individual. Lemare’s brief The Cuckoo has charm and his transcription of The Hebrides takes us back to the days when organists frequently played arrangements from the orchestral repertoire to make up for the comparative lack of orchestral concerts. The principal influence on Hollins’ overture is indeed Mendelssohn and his gift for shapely melody is strikingly displayed in this early piece.

Mr Fisher, one of our finest organists (he is an excellent pianist, too) once again shows his aptitude for, and love of, the romantic organ repertoire and this (American) CD is warmly recommended with only the caveat that the recording’s wide dynamic range necessitates one or two adjustments to the volume control.

Philip Scowcroft

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