£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


John JEFFREYS
Organ Music
Michel Bourcier (organ)
The organ of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts, Paris
Rec 2000?
SOMM - Celeste Series - CD019 [57.00?]


BUY NOW 

  AmazonUK   AmazonUS


A casual visit to a Suffolk church with an organist friend whose masterly improvisation on the instrument greatly impressed Jeffreys led to the composition of a body of music for organ - the bulk of which, including two major compositions, is given in this recital from the Paris church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts.

The instrument, originally commissioned by Baron Albert de l'Espée for his Bois de Boulogne house, was later installed in its present church as being too powerful for its original domestic situation. That power is certainly demonstrated here - as is the complete contrast in the most delicate sonorities (in the rustling of Canon Howard's little mice, one of the sketches especially written for the chamber organ at the church at Otten, North Essex.)

Jeffreys is perhaps best known for his many songs - settings of words from the 16th Century and from the more recent Georgians of the 'thirties. His studies at college were counterpoint and musical philosophy - and while a light balance is achieved in his songs with quasi-Warlockian jollity, and light-hearted love songs, concentration is needed here to follow the slow deliberate unfolding of his musical thought.

The two major compositions on this disc - a complex Fantasia written for Alfred David Williams, the friend whose introduction to the instrument was the improvisatory spark (at 17 minutes the most substantial piece on the disc) - and an equally substantial Flourish, Affirmation, Meditation and Six Variations - are both powerful, deep and imbued with a compelling spirituality.

There are a number of shorter pieces, drawn from 'Music from Otten' and 'Duodecimedes' (twelve character pieces) and also another larger-scale 'Christ in Majesty' of considerable intensity whose dark-hued harmonies echo solemnly from the cold stone - and the recital ends with an evocation of the vast loneliness of a visit to the summit of Cader Idris, reflecting Jeffreys' Welsh origins and in some strange way the spirituality that emanates from such a sense of place.

Like all good things this music is to be savoured, not rushed, and in the hands of Michel Bourcier, now Professor of Organ at Rennes Conservatoire, it is impressively moving.

Colin Scott-Sutherland

 


Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.