William Saunders, The Organ Of Brentwood Cathedral - Animal Parade

Published Tuesday 16th November 2010
William Saunders, The Organ Of Brentwood Cathedral - Animal Parade
William Saunders, The Organ Of Brentwood Cathedral - Animal Parade

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Regent REGCD346

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The title track is a world premiere recording of a suite by Iain Farrington with 10 miniatures describing 10 species, each with an accompanying poem by Esther Eidnow. The poems are not recorded but they are printed in the CD booklet so you can chant along, a la 'Fa├žade', if the fancy takes you. All are worth hearing and one is worth quoting: "Critics". "Look, a pack of critics on the prowl/Swaggering, they've no fear of a fight/Watch them: will they laugh or scowl?/A thousand futures rest on what they write." Golly. Well, your intrepid reviewer can say, without fear or favour, that he has not enjoyed an organ recital as much as this one in many a long year. William Saunders plays beautifully and the organ in Brentwood Cathedral sounds splendid. The music is varied, starting with the aptly named "Changing Moods" by Christopher Steel and followed by "Five Dances For Organ" by John Gardner all of which gives the organist and his instrument every opportunity to shine. Then we move into what can be described as contemporary takes on traditional church organ music with a Recessional by William Mathias, a Diptych by Dobrinka Tabakova (another world premiere recording) and then the ever-reliable John Rutter's "Toccata In Seven". I can see myself using the "Animal Parade" sequence in a school assembly or church family service (subject, of course, to the appropriate performing rights license) and any church that has an adventurous organist may hear Mathias's Recessional but really this is a CD to play and enjoy.

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