Elgar: March (Pomp and Circumstance), Op. 39, Nos 3 & 5; Nimrod (from Variations on an Original Theme); Sonata in G; Severn Suite; Solemn Prelude: For the Fallen (from The Spirit of England) etc

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COMPOSERS: Elgar
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: March (Pomp and Circumstance), Op. 39, Nos 3 & 5; Nimrod (from Variations on an Original Theme); Sonata in G; Severn Suite; Solemn Prelude: For the Fallen (from The Spirit of England) etc
PERFORMER: Robert Quinney (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 266

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ving presided at the Westminster Abbey console for the recent Royal Wedding, Robert Quinney knows a thing or two about ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. But he hasn’t alighted on the usual suspects for the two Marches that frame his all-Elgar recital, played on the Abbey organ. The sense of mounting excitement in the mysterious opening of No. 3 is palpable, offset by a jaunty debonair Trio. But it’s hard not to suppress the odd giggle in No. 5, whose moments of tongue-in-cheekery threaten to transform the mighty Harrison and Harrison into a Wurlitzer. But the ‘meat’ of the disc – the only original organ work in a persuasive sea of transcriptions – is the imposing Sonata, which provides a thorough workout both for Quinney’s hugely impressive technique and the instrument’s capacious resources.

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From the protean grandeur and introspective lyricism of the first movement, to the breezy gusto of the Finale, Quinney is in complete command, the Allegretto fluid and supple, the Andante espressivo suavely contoured. Nimrod is simply noble and nobly simple, the Severn Suite oozes robust bonhomie, and Sospiri survives its translation from harp, strings and organ with hardly any loss (excepting, perhaps, the central climax) of that deep-veined melancholy which turns elegiac in the face of the catastrophe of the First World War that so swiftly followed its premiere. Thoughtfully programmed, compellingly played, Quinney’s Elgar entices. Paul Riley