Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Introduction and Theme (1932)
Fantasy-Prelude (1900); Prelude in G (in memory of Parry) (1924)
Heathcote STATHAM
Rhapsody on a Ground (1944)
Prelude and Fugue in C minor (1908)
Rondo Capriccio (1910); Toccata and Fugue in D minor (1915)
Christopher STEEL
Variations, Toccata and Fugue on Two Croatian Carols (1988)
performed by ROGER FISHER (organ) St John's Church, Ranmoor, Sheffield
rec 3-4 May 2000
AMPHION PHI CD 165 [69.19]

After their triumph with a CD of the Percy Whitlock organ symphony Martin J Monkman's Amphion company return to the solo organ. Roger Fisher is an open-minded and skilled advocate for this music not all of which is likely to be familiar. The Sumsion is bold, regal and peremptory - totally unstuffy if congealed of texture in the closing pages. Macpherson's ruminative prelude of 1900 contrasts with the recessional stillness of the Parry memorial. Statham's Rhapsody is evocative of the emotional heritage of the slaughter of the second world war. Willan (a superb orchestral composer by the way) is represented by the Prelude and Fugue in C minor. This is Gothic, statuesque, parataxis. The Lemare Rondo is light as down and optimistic - rather Tchaikovskian in character. For contrast there's Lemare's turbulent wartime Toccata adn Bachian Fugue in D minor. Christopher Steel (1939-1991) with seven symphonies (numbers 4 and 5 broadcast by the BBC) to his name took a special interest in the organ (there is a 1965 organ concerto). His Croatian Carol work is succinct of expression and brilliant of colour. It is the only work here from the second half of the century. The variations flood and flow along tense and never outstaying their welcome. They together make a lovely piece and managed to trounce this listener's aural prejudice against the organ. Welcome notes by Kenneth Shenton - a familiar name in connection with Cyril Rootham. The recording reveals a practised hand and ear at juggling echo and atmosphere.

Rob Barnett

CD can be ordered from AMPHION RECORDINGS at 3 Norton Lodge, 109 Beverley Rd, NORTON-ON-DERWENT, MALTON, NORTH YORKS YO17 9PH ( 01653 698372.

There is a discount price to members of the British Music Society: £10.50 inclusive of post and packing

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