COMPOSERS: Maxwell Davies/Harvey/Williamson
WORKS: Fantasia on 0 Magnum Mysterium; Organ Sonata; Three Organ Voluntaries; Reliqui Domum
PERFORMER: Kevin Bowyer (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5509
I am sure that reams of neglected contemporary repertoire can be found for most instruments, composed for specific occasions or players and perhaps performed several times, but since – and frequently undeservedly -forgotten. The organ, prone as it is to much stereotypical programming, is no exception, so it is thus very encouraging to come across Kevin Bowyer’s disc recorded on the new Marcussen organ at Tonbridge School, Kent. With characteristic enthusiasm (just read his communicative notes), Bowyer shows the light of day once more to pieces written by three mainstream composers working in the United Kingdom who, incidentally, were all born in the Thirties. He conveys each composer’s conception of the organ (and its ability to colour, sustain and articulate) through insightful and technically accomplished playing, and offers a constructively challenging recording to the initiated and uninitiated alike.
Several works receive world premiere recordings and the collection as a whole is very much the player’s personal miscellany, comprising pieces chosen not only for past associations (we learn of Bowyer’s formative experiences with some of this repertoire), but for their continuing fascination. Above all, this is not only a recording of interpretative competence, but of true conviction. Highly recommended. Andrew McCrea