Collection: The Organs of Eton College, Vol 1

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COMPOSERS: Byrd,Dupre,G Ives,Gibbons,Gowers,Ireland,Leighton,Parry,Vierne,von Paradis,Whitlock,Willan
WORKS: Vol. 1: Works by Byrd, Gibbons, Willan, Parry, Gowers, Whitlock, Ireland, Dupré, G Ives, Vierne, von Paradis, Leighton
PERFORMER: David Davies, Clive Driskill-Smith, Christopher Hughes, Paul Plummer, Robert Quinney (organ)


The historic college at Eton boasts a proud tradition of organs dating back to the 15th century, and the four present instruments which feature on these two discs each have a distinctive voice. Two of the organs date from the mid-18th century, and a pleasing mixture of English and continental music of the period is presented and stylishly played here.

The other two are turn-of-the-century instruments (one by Hill, the other by Lewis) and a variety of 20th-century styles serves to highlight some of the idiosyncracies of each instrument. The five organists on these recordings are all former pupils of the school, and either present, or past, Oxbridge organ scholars. Much of the music here is articulated with great flair and eloquence, especially the two Elizabethan items on the Snetzler chamber organ, played by Robert Quinney and Paul Plummer.


There is also a dazzling display of virtuoso fingerwork on the Hill organ, especially by Christopher Hughes in Patrick Gowers’s Toccata. Although commendably played, some pieces from the selection of Baroque music on the Flentrop organ are rather pale and stylistically undernourished. There is a certain amount of information about each organ, though individual specifications would have been welcome. Stephen Haylett