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Specialists in Classical Location Sound Recording


The Grand Organ of Chester Cathedral (OXCD-104)

OXCD-104Philip Rushforth plays the Hill Organ

1. Prelude and Fugue in C minor - Healey Willan
2. Fantasy in E - Harold Darke
3. Plymouth Suite - Percy Whitlock
4. Romanza (Symphony No 5) - R V Williams
5. Toccata - John Sanders
6. Aria - Charles Callahan
7. Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E flat minor - Healey Willan

 

 


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Philip Rushforth, who was appointed Director of Music at Chester Cathedral in 2007, demonstrates his musical virtuosity in a recital which is framed by two substantial works by Healey Willan.

Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral Choir

Choir & Organ (August 2009) These two discs, arriving together, could hardly be bettered as testimony to the extraordinary musical range of Chester Cathedral's Director of Music, Philip Rushforth...... These two absorbing recital discs display a questing mind, meticulous musical planning and preparation, technical prowess and a profound understanding of the tonal capabilities of the instruments concerned. *****

The Organ (June2009) Philip Rushforth has put together a fascinating and very worthwhile programme of English organ music from the last 100 years on the well-known Chester Cathedral instrument, largely rebuilt in 1910 by William Hill, and lovingly overhauled several times since. The disc opens and closes with two major works by Healey Willan, the distinguished English-born and long-time Canadian resident – an impressive Prelude and Fugue in C minor and an Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E flat minor. These rarely-heard are given performances of notable commitment and expressive virtuosity. The recordings are good, although in the closing pages of the C minor Prelude and Fugue there is a tendency (no more than that) for the massive sound to overload. Darke’s Fantasy in E is a beautiful piece that could have come from any period in this admirable composer’s career – the fine theme, first adumbrated in the tenor, is particularly striking. Percy Whitlock’s Plymouth Suite is a delightful set of pieces, admirably performed here, as are the fascinating Toccata of John Sanders (which gradually builds to a suitably imposing climax) and the meditative Aria of Charles Callahan..........this is a very good record in terms of bringing to our attention some unjustly neglected music in superior performances.

Organists' Review (November 2009) So many delights here, it is hard to know where to start..... The recitalist's highly successful transcription of the most contemplative and serene movement from what has been described as the most numinous of all symphonies (Vaughan Williams' Fifth in particular usually inviting the epithet 'celestial') provides eleven minutes of ecstatic repose..... There is commendable integrity on focussing the choice of repertoire predominently on the first half of the twentieth century..... The massive and unique edifice of Brahmsian sonority that is Healey Willan's masterpiece brings proceedings to a seriously spectacular close. Performer, organ and recording engineers all merit similar adjectives and commendation.

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