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Light and shadow

The organ music of Paul Fisher, investigated by

Dinmore Records    DRD 051

The Spirit Moves. The Organ Music of Paul Fisher. © 2003 Dinmore Records

Composer-priest Paul Fisher (born 1943, North Worcestershire, UK) is represented here by music for choir and organ and solo organ. His pitch is moderate, emulating church and organ music of the last mid-century. That in itself can isolate the content for those who cringe from anything later and enjoy the comfort of a familiar style.

On the other hand, even a well-used musical idiom can draw upon its sounds in a slightly unusual context to cast both light and shadow with beneficial result. The ambitious work here is Columcille [listen -- track 10, 9:58-11:10] illustrating five episodes in the life of Columba, an Irish saint. A narrator defines specific passages to be reflected in the music. It all makes for a well-judged score, slightly dampened in effect by restraint, and yet ideal for those who tremble before the fierce soundworlds of today's unrelenting composers.

There's plenty of variety in the complete content. Gentle meditations on known tunes, vigorous attacks with the big favourites, and upbeat quirkiness with such promising material as Jingle bells [listen -- track 6, 2:11-2:51]. There's no real sense of strong creativity, but plenty of variety of the type that those in the pews will find appealing and perhaps moving.

Copyright © 6 September 2003 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK


The Spirit Moves - The Organ Music of Paul Fisher

DRD 051 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 67'15" 2003 Dinmore Records

Kevin Bowyer at the Wood Organ of Blackburn Cathedral, UK

Paean for a Royal Jubilee; Divinum Mysterium; Introit for Advent Sunday; Introit for Christmas Eve; Introit for Christmas Day; Jingle Bells Jingle; Love Song; For Thalia; Reflections on a Name; Columcille (narrator: Paul Fisher); Columba Invokes Spirit; The White Tiger; The Minstrels' Gallery; The Coming of Light


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews