HAVPCD366 – English Fayre
This recording takes the listener on a tour of late nineteenth and twentieth century English organ music, as befits the instrument found in Winchester Cathedral. The programme opens with the first of the two cornerstones of the organ repertoire featured on this recording, Willan’s Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E flat minor.
Healey Willan (1880-1968) was born in England, and after beginning his career in London, emigrated to Toronto in 1913. The Introduction Passacaglia & Fugue was written three years later, and was dedicated to Sir Walter Alcock the then organist of Salisbury Cathedral. Clearly written with the Salisbury Father Willis organ in mind, the mysterious nature of the opening four bars is rudely interrupted by the dramatic fantasia, that forms the Introduction.
HAVPCD364 – The Organ of Chichester Cathedral
This eclectic musical experience is evident in his organ music, which also demonstrates a technical ability acquired from his composition lessons with Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Allegretto and Scherzo share a whimsical humour; the Andante tranquillo has a wistful, Elgarian quality and Folk Tune a haunting melody which is heard three times with different registrations. Paean is a Greek title for a choral hymn of praise to Apollo, but has come to denote an exulting musical piece. It is a ‘Tuba tune’ and was written for his then fiancée Edna May Kingdon.
HAVPCD363 – Bryd to Blow
The opening pieces, by William Byrd, are performed on what would have been the full extent of the available stops of a large organ of the period. The opening Fancy is performed on a solo Open Diapason, the main foundation stop on the large organ. The opening section has a choral quality, with voices introduced one at a time. The second section opens with fanfare-like chords, and gradually lines break away and become more flamboyant, building to a grand final cadence. For Salvator Mundi the hymn melody is heard in long notes between two embellished lines, and for the final grand Fantasia the full scale of the large organ is employed.