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Voice of an angel

Gillian Weir's
Organ Master Series on Priory -
with DAVID THOMPSON

'A wonderful collection ...'

Organ Master Series - Volume One - Gillian Weir. (p) 2000 Priory Records Ltd

 

Any new recording by Dame Gillian Weir is likely to be a revealing and rewarding experience, and these two discs, (from a projected three) only serve to confirm what a consummate artist she remains. The discs represent, for Dame Gillian, something of a poignant personal pilgrimage, in that they showcase instruments that are the brainchildren of her late husband, Lawrence Phelps.

In a sense, these instruments represent absolute extremes. On the first disc, there is the Aeolian-Skinner organ of the First Church of Christ, Scientist at Boston, Massachusetts, an enormous beast whose specification occupies three fascinating pages of the booklet. Disc two features the organ of Hexham Abbey, an instrument of much more modest specification.

The remarkable thing, though, is that both instruments speak with a distinctive voice that is recognisably the same. Phelps had the sheer genius to know precisely what was ideal for each very different environment, and his distinctive signature is preserved in these performances, which are as much an act of homage to his achievement as they are to that of composers represented. If you want to put this to the test, then listen to the two Hindemith Sonatas recorded here. The first, a rather grand work in the romantic tradition, finds its ideal expression on the large Boston organ, whilst the more classical second, with its more modest pretensions, is beautifully served at Hexham -- the same musical language, spoken to perfection, in places blessed with the intuitive musical talents of Phelps and Weir.

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Copyright © 28 December 2001 David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - PRIORY PRCD 751

PURCHASE VOLUME ONE FROM AMAZON

CD INFORMATION - PRIORY PRCD 751

PURCHASE VOLUME TWO FROM CROTCHET

 

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