John Scott Whiteley, The Organ of York Minster - JSW Works For Organ

Published Thursday 18th November 2010
John Scott Whiteley, The Organ of York Minster - JSW Works For Organ
John Scott Whiteley, The Organ of York Minster - JSW Works For Organ

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Regent REDCD353

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

On this CD John Scott Whiteley plays a unique collection of his own original compositions on the organ of York Minster, including the monumental "Passacaglia", released to celebrate JSW's retirement as Organist Of York Minster after 35 years. The disc was formally released at JSW's concert in York Minster on Saturday 18th September 2010. The content spans the years 1987 to 2010, opening with an "Intrada, For Their Royal Highnesses The Duke And Duchess Of York" on the occasion of their being granted the Freedom Of The City in July 1987. The most recent composition is "Five Sisters Window Glass Effect Pieces For Organ" from 2010. Those who know the windows in view (in the North Transept Of York Minster) can judge for themselves whether the composer does them justice; those who know something of the influences at work on the composer may pick up references to Karg-Elert, Respighi, Tournemire, and Dupree; and the rest of us can listen and marvel at the invention on display. The most significant influence on JSW's development as a composer is Olivier Messaien which gives us an indication of what to expect: music that is colourful and meditative. My personal favourite is "Scherzetto And Fugue On The Name Francis Jackson" which commemorates the 19th birthday of the Organ Emeritus Of York Minster in October 2007. This pays homage to Dr Jackson's love of French organ music with references to Dupre, Durufle, Poulenc, and Ravel. However the listener does not need to know any of this background to enjoy the music and appreciate the qualities of JSW as an organist or indeed the marvelous sound from the instrument. Interested listeners can find out much more in the comprehensive notes in the CD booklet and collectors of contemporary organ music will wish to add this to their collection at the earliest opportunity.

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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