One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra

TUDOR RECORDS

TROUBADISC

A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

REFERENCE RECORDINGS

Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review




an inspirational performance


An indispensable acquisition


The finest we have had in years


bewitching sound


Simply amazing


A splendid addition


One of the most enjoyable


quite superb!


utterly essential


A wonderful introduction


An outstanding CD


cheer-raising


One of the finest versions

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing
this disc through MusicWeb
for £14.99 postage paid world-wide.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
A Land of Hope and Glory
Imperial March [5:39]
Vesper Voluntaries [14:54]
Sonata for organ in G major [26:55]
Chanson de nuit [4:58]
Chanson de matin [3:31]
Nimrod from Enigma Variations [3:51]
Pomp and Circumstance no. 1 in D [7:46]
Jean-Luc Etienne (organ)
rec. Jann de l’eglise Saint-Martin, Dudelange, Luxembourg
HORTUS 103 [71:43]


 
Green fields and rolling hills, a pot of tea by the fire – every image of England is represented by Sir Edward Elgar’s music. A giant figure in the Victorian era, his organ music is often overlooked due to the more famous orchestral works. This disc contains all of the compositions for organ as well as some transcriptions of the most well known of his works.
 
The Vesper Voluntaries are a collection of short pieces bound together with a Prelude, Intermezzo and a Coda. They were composed shortly after the composer’s marriage to Alice and are very simple, presumably intended for liturgical use at the service of vespers. The performances are very clear from Etienne. All of the large number of quiet stops available on the Luxembourg organ are earthy and precise, allowing the music to speak for itself.
 
The main event for organ fans is the Sonata. This large-scale work, written for Hugh Blair and Worcester Cathedral’s organ, inhabits the beginnings of Elgar’s most significant orchestral works, particularly the Enigma Variations. The clear structure of the first movement and lyrical themes are well communicated by Etienne, although there is an unfamiliar flavour created by the use of such a French-sounding organ for completely English-sounding music – this isn’t usually how it sounds. English organists barely play any English music and borrow repertoire from other countries, so it makes a nice change to observe the adoption of Elgar’s music by a foreigner. I feel that Etienne’s interpretation of this work also has a French flavour. The second movement is played with a fair amount of rubato, which occasionally interrupts the momentum but the organist’s choice of registration is great – there is a real sense of “orchestration” which works extremely well. The beginning of the last movement sounds just like a Vierne scherzo! The specific notes are lost in the acoustic until a louder registration is selected but overall Etienne handles the work with technical ferocity.
 
The transcriptions on this CD seem somehow less important. All the transcribing was done by contemporaries of Elgar but whilst both Chansons are beautiful pieces, the interpretation here is rather unremarkable. Nimrod is again performed well but no better than any other recording and the depth of sound as well as bumps in the legato are slightly irritating. Imperial March and Pomp and Circumstance are more enjoyable as the sounds of the organ are better suited to imitating a loud orchestra than a quiet one. Both are technically and stylistically well performed.
 
Elgar’s organ music should be more widely performed and this is a great recording if that is your aim. However the transcriptions are a bit of a letdown.
 
Hannah Parry-Ridout