Thomas Trotter - From Palaces To Pleasure Gardens

Published Wednesday 14th August 2019
Thomas Trotter - From Palaces To Pleasure Gardens
Thomas Trotter - From Palaces To Pleasure Gardens

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Regent REGCD526

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Georgian London was one of the wealthiest cities in the world and there was a constant demand for new music to entertain all classes so composers and performers alike headed there to seek fame and fortune. Royal and noble patrons offered generous sponsorship for music for Court or Church and less exalted personages attended the Pleasure Gardens where organ concertos were inevitably part of the entertainment. The programme on the CD under review contains a varied and lively mix of the sacred (voluntaries for church use) and the secular (concertos) reflecting the range of compositional talent operating at the time. The featured composers are, in alphabetical order, Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782), Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), James Hook (1746-1827), Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667-1752), William Russell (1777-1813), and John Stanley (1712-1786). The Bach is one of the sons of J. S. so the best known name is Handel's and he is a useful indicator: if you enjoy his music chances are you will get something from all or at least most of his contemporaries. The featured instrument is the 1735 Richard Bridge Organ of Christ's Church, Spitalfields. This was possibly the largest instrument in England at the time of its construction and while it has been, ahem, improved over the years it has more recently been restored by William Drake to something close to its original specifications and can certainly be regarded as a historically significant organ. There is much more technical detail included in an illustrated essay by Nicholas Thistlethwaite in the CD booklet that will, I am sure, please organ spotters. The featured organist is the redoubtable Thomas Trotter who has an impressive CV as well as an extensive discography and the audio quality, courtesy of producer/engineer Gary Cole, is first rate. While this release cannot be called overtly or explicitly Christian, beyond being played in a church building, it is certainly tuneful and sheds much light on the tastes of fashionable London all those years ago.

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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