Contemporary British Organ Music - volume 2
Avril ANDERSON (b.1953)
Repetitive Strain (1995) [7:26]
David SUTTON–ANDERSON (b.1956)
Fantasia (2002) [11:10]
Unda Maris (1987) [6:16]
The Lone Piper (1990) [5:05]
Three Pieces (1999/2002) [13:55]
The Grass is Sleeping (1979) [12:38]
Happy Birthday Mr Lambert (1986) [2:01]
Each Night That Dies With Dawn (1985) [7:46]
encircling, unfolding (2009) [12:27]
Michael Bonaventure (organ)
rec. 25-26 January 2010, St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood. DDD
SFZ MUSIC SFZM0610 [78:39]

Before I heard this disk, the names of David Sutton–Anderson and Avril Anderson were just that to me – names. For some reason I’d never managed to hear a note of their music, despite having ample opportunity to do so. Repetitive Strain makes a good start to this recital for it is, as the booklet tells us, “a tour de force of colour”. It’s very vital and has a forward momentum, which is snuffed out at the end. I would have said that it was a tour de force of compositional ingenuity. After the geniality of Repetitive Strain, Fantasia comes as something of a shock, its being an austere monolith of a piece.

Unda maris spends its short duration stripping away textures until only the quietest is left. It’s engaging and very interesting. The Lone Piper consists of a solo over delicate repetitive accompaniment. There’s a very satisfying growth to the piece and it becomes quite dance–like. The Three PiecesMeditation, Prière and 44 Frames – comprise two short, quiet, pieces and a longer, wilder, episode.

The Grass is Sleeping seems to be an uncomfortable night, with much happening in the long, slow, tread of the music; birdsong, desolate wastes, endless, empty vistas. Take your pick, they are all here. Attractive? No. Exciting and interesting? Most certainly. Compelling? Indubitably.

Husband and wife collaborated for a brief birthday tribute to their teacher John Lambert – Happy Birthday Mr Lambert – which is joyous and fun, just what a teacher deserves from his pupils. Each Night That Dies With Dawn is a dramatic brother to The Grass is Sleeping and encircling, unfolding is a serious exploration of colour.

This disk is a worthy successor to Volume 1, which featured music by Laurence Crane and Gabriel Jackson, which is very well recorded and beautifully presented. However, with the exception of the short birthday piece, all the music is intensely serious and thus perhaps this disk is not to be played in one sitting because there is a lack of real variety between the pieces. That said, there is some fine music here which is worth investigating.

Bob Briggs

Some fine music which is worth investigating.