WORKS: Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57; Postlude in D minor, Op. 105 No. 6; Prelude and Fugue in E minor; Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193; By the Seashore; Epithalamium, Op. 182 No. 5 etc
PERFORMER: Tom Winpenny (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: RES10104
Opening his recital with a vigorous performance of the 1894 Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Tom Winpenny positions this piece firmly as a Victorian tribute to JS Bach. Played with reedy bite on the Binns organ of Queens’ College, Cambridge, the music transports us to Stanford’s world: though both its chapel and organ date from the early 1890s, it was as organ scholar at Queens’ that Stanford arrived in Cambridge in 1870, and he would return to the university as professor of music after the new building had been consecrated.
Best remembered for his church music, Stanford also composed operas, symphonies and string quartets; despite this meticulously played and researched recording’s high standards, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that his organ music sounds generic. In this programme’s favour are four world-premiere recordings, including Stanford’s earliest surviving organ work, the Prelude and Fugue in E minor.
Better known pieces include the Intermezzo (founded upon an Irish air), a late composition that makes nostalgic use of the Londonderry Air,while also, perhaps, making a Protestant Irish political point. Dedicated to the Polish pianist and Liszt pupil Moriz Rosenthal, In Modo Dorico was later reworked as the overture to Stanford’s last opera, The Travelling Companion. Winpenny ends commandingly, but this release from the new download-only label Resonus is likely to appeal mostly to organists or die-hard Stanfordians. John Allison