Edward Elgar, John Challenger - Elgar From Salisbury

Published Wednesday 10th June 2015
Edward Elgar, John Challenger - Elgar From Salisbury
Edward Elgar, John Challenger - Elgar From Salisbury

STYLE: Classical
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 157452-
LABEL: Regent REGCD463
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1


Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

If Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) is your favourite composer this is an easy recommendation. Likewise, if you collect recordings of significant organs from around the country the 1876-77 Father Willis organ at Salisbury Cathedral is one you will wish to add. Organ aficionados may want to get this debut recording by John Challenger, currently Assistant Director of Music at the cathedral, so they can claim to have heard him before he became famous. But what about those of us who do not belong to any of these groups? Your reviewer admires Elgar but would not take anything of his to a desert island so perhaps I am not best placed to comment. Challenger's playing is assured and the quality of recording is what we expect of any release on the ever reliable Regent label but the content is, well, what it says on the cover: "transcriptions for organ of works by Sir Edward Elgar". In addition to existing transcriptions by distinguished Edwardian organists contemporary with Elgar - Alfred Redhead, George C Martin, Herbert Brewer, C H Trevor and Harvey Grace - the disc includes new arrangements of Elgar works by Tom Winpenny and John Challenger himself. The originals are orchestral; some well known such as "Imperial March", "Coronation March" and "Empire March" (and astute readers may see a trend here) while we also get a selection of lesser-known works such as "Une Idylle" and the Larghetto from "Serenade for Strings". By the time we reach the concluding "Prelude" and "Angel's Farewell" from 'The Dream of Gerontius' my mind was made up. I enjoyed listening to this recording and can applaud Challenger's playing but I would rather hear the compositions in their original forms.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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