Faulkes

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Faulkes
LABELS: Delphian
WORKS: Festival Prelude on ‘Ein feste Burg’; Fantasia; Scherzo symphonique concertant; Theme in E flat; Barcarolle; Concert Overture in E flat; Melody in F etc
PERFORMER: Duncan Ferguson (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: DCD 34148

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He was the first English organist to be accorded a biographical entry in the American Organist magazine; and with over 500 published works, not to mention several hundred more in manuscript, William Faulkes was evidently a force to be reckoned with. Today he’s barely a footnote to a footnote. Duncan Ferguson is on a mission to rectify that. It’s music that distils the spirit of the Edwardian era, when the large quasi-orchestral concert organ was, from town hall to cinema, the must-have jukebox of its day. Ferguson is aided in his rehabilitating zeal by the fine Father Willis organ of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, installed just 16 years after Faulkes’s birth.

Ferguson knows the instrument intimately and gives its tonal palette a thorough workout – even managing a moment of pure ‘Wurlitzer’ in the arrangement of Rubinstein’s Melody in F. He relishes the sometimes Reger-esque chromaticism of the Festival Prelude on ‘Ein feste Burg’, and turns in a noble account of the Fantasia; but for all the parping tubas, even Ferguson’s skill can’t save the compositionally slight Scherzo symphonique concertante.

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Paul Riley