COMPOSERS: Brahms,etc,Guilmant,Howells,Lemare,Nielsen,O Lindberg
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Organ Dreams, Vol. 3
PERFORMER: Christopher Herrick (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67317
Christopher Herrick’s previous recitals in this series have brought together some interesting musical pairings, but at first glance here I did wonder at two such unlikely bedfellows as Albert Ketèlbey and Brahms sharing the limelight. In fact, the programme works exceptionally well when listened through in sequence. A generous dose of nostalgia opens the proceedings with Edwin Lemare’s Moonlight and Roses Andantino and Ketèlbey’s In a Monastery Garden, the Father Willis organ of Truro Cathedral passing off wonderfully vivid imitations of a theatre organ and birdsong along the way.
Sverre Eftestøl’s delightful skit on the folksong ‘Dance to your Daddy’ almost steals the show, its stuttering false starts and whirling cross-rhythms deftly and wittily played by Herrick. Guilmant’s Marche de procession marks a change of mood and pace with its sombre yet richly expressive set of variations on two liturgical melodies, and the bitter-sweet harmonic twists and turns of Howells’s Rhapsody in D flat only serves to intensify the sense of deepening introspection. Herrick gives a compelling performance here, judging the heart-wrenching climax to perfection. Brahms is given the final word with his valedictory Chorale Preludes, Op. 122, Herrick shaping each melodic line with great tenderness. Stephen Haylett