Herbert BREWER (1865-1928)
The Complete Organ Works
Triumphal Song [7.34]
An Impression [1:49]
Meditation on the name of Bach [2:27]
A Thanksgiving Processional [4:13]
Carillon (from A Little Organ Book) [4:43]
Interlude in F [2:10]
Minuet and Trio in D [5:34]
Cloister Garth [2:51]
Praeludium in A flat [2:52]
Melody in A [2:35]
Paean of Praise [6:45]
Introduction and Fugato [4:14]
Minuet and Trio in B flat [5:35]
Auf Wiedersehen [2:59]
Marche Héroïque [5:47]
Daniel Cook (organ)
rec. Salisbury Cathedral, 25-27 January 2011. DDD
PRIORY PRCD 1057 [77:50]
Sir Herbert Brewer was Gloucester-born. After occupying positions in Oxford and Coventry he succeeded Charles Lee Williams as Organist of Gloucester Cathedral in 1896. He was a friend of Parry and Elgar, both of whose styles influenced his works, and was known for his forceful leadership of the Three Choirs festivals in Gloucester years.
A first glance at the contents of this disc may prove a little surprising. There are none of the Choral Fantasies, Hymn-tune Preludes and other such works that we might expect from an eminent cathedral organist. There is a Meditation on BACH, but that owes more to the concert hall than the organ loft. Rather, Brewer’s organ output consists mostly of character and mood pieces, with a few extrovert works thrown in. His melodic style can be overly-sentimental, but his imaginative use of harmony and his ability to compress a wide range of emotion into a short space of time are quite impressive. These qualities are best seen in several of the smaller works: the Elegy: Eventide, and especially Solitude. Also very interesting are the extrovert Paean of Praise, with its combination of high spirits and Elgarian grandeur, and the formal Introduction and Fugato. One should also mention his two best-known organ works, Cloister Garth and the Marche Héroïque, although personally I prefer most of the aforementioned works to these last two.
Daniel Cook is a splendid performer, able to respond to the varying moods of each of these pieces with complete spontaneity and natural verve. He also provides good program notes. Brewer’s music is well-suited to the magnificent Salisbury organ, although the stones of the Cathedral itself are not always kind to the pipes of the swell organ. This is a fine disc, long overdue, and is indispensable for anyone interested in British organ music of this period.
A long overdue disc of music by a friend of Parry and Elgar - well worth looking into.