Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 

The English Cathedral Series - Volume XIV – Southwell Minster
John COOK (1918-1984)
Fanfare [5:13]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Orpheus (1854) [11:01]
François COUPERIN (1668-1773)
Messe pour les Couvents [47:44]; (with chant by Guillaume-Gabriel NIVERS (1632-1714))
Sigfrid KARG-ELERT
(1877-1933)

Homage to Handel (1914) [15:31]
Paul Hale (organ and cantor)
Robin Blackwell, Samuel Hucklebridge, Benedict Inman, William Inman (trebles) – in Couperin only
rec. Nave Organ of Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire, 12 May 2006, 14-15 March 2007
text and translation included.
REGENT REGCD248 [79:34]
Experience Classicsonline


As this series is devoted to the organs of English Cathedrals, it is perhaps appropriate to discuss the instrument before the music or the player.
 
There have been organs in Southwell Minster since 1662, but the instrument used for this recording is the Quire Organ installed in its present position in 1996 by Nicolson of Malvern, partly using pipes made by that firm in 1868 for an organ in Malvern Wells. Its specification and history are summarised in the CD booklet.
 
The major work here is clearly the Couperin. It is one of two Organ Masses which appeared in 1689-90, and is intended for used in convents or abbey churches. The many short movements, the longest over 5 minutes but most under 2 minutes, are separated by chant. Originally that normally employed by the particular convent or abbey would have been used, but here chant by Nivers published in 1696 is applied. Any performance of this Mass is a formidable test of both organist and instrument. All too often I find myself distracted in this music by the sheer amount and complexity of the ornamentation, but although Paul Hale does not shirk the latter neither does he allow himself to appear to concentrate on it at the expense of the overall sense of the music. The timbres he coaxes from the organ seem to a non-specialist to match the composer’s requirements with pungency and sweetness as required. He also achieves what may be a first on an organ recording of also appearing as a singer in the brief lines allotted to the Cantor. There and in the chant, performed by some of the trebles of the Minster choir, I found myself surprised at the degree and type of ornamentation. Given its date and provenance, however, I assume that this would have been expected in performances of the Mass, however unlikely and even at times distracting it may appear.
 
I very much enjoyed the Mass, but even more the Karg-Elert. His “Homage to Handel” was written in 1914 to celebrate the composer’s election as an honorary member of the Royal College of Organists. The choice of Handel was meant to reflect the close ties between English and German music, the work appearing just before the outbreak of war. It is based on a ground bass from the Passacaglia in Handel’s Keyboard Suite No. 7. The 54 variations on this bass fall into three main sections. The composer’s instructions to the player are vivid and give a clear idea of what to expect, from Lento lugubre ed indeciso at the opening, to Imperiale e pomposo, Demonico and Trionfante e gigantica towards the end. It is a colourful and varied work, each variation short and to the point, and all with a clear sense of purpose. I have not heard any of the various alternative recordings but I certainly enjoyed this one immensely.
 
I got much less enjoyment from the first two works, due more to their musical quality than to any defects of performance or instrument. John Cook was born in Britain but emigrated to Canada and later to the USA. The Fanfare is based on music written for a Festival of Britain Pageant at Hampton Court. Although it does show off some of the louder stops of the organ I found it derivative and unmemorable. Its greatest virtue is that it is succinct.
 
Liszt’s Orpheus is a transcription of the orchestral symphonic poem which was in turn based on music written to supplement a performance of Gluck’s opera. The present transcription is by Robert Schaab, with revisions made by Liszt himself. Unfortunately these are insufficient to compensate for the loss of the colourful orchestration of the original, with its frequent use of the harp. The magic of the latter, especially as captured in Beecham’s versions, is wholly missing in this organ version. It is indeed hard to imagine how the poetic fluency of the original could ever be achieved on the organ, although Paul Hale does play with admirable flexibility when required.
 
All too often organ recitals can seem to the non-organist to be intended to show off the organ much more than the music. That is not the case here. The Couperin and Karg-Elert items are both substantial pieces, enjoyable and worth acquiring in these performances simply as music. In doing so you will be able also to appreciate the ability of the instrument, at least in the hands of the right player, to respond appropriately to the demands of music of very varied character. And that, presumably, is what this series is all about.
 
John Sheppard
 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.