Notes and Editorial Reviews
Another feast of organ music played on a fine instrument by Christopher Herrick.
Younger readers may be unfamiliar with the old rhyme ‘something old‚ something new; something borrowed‚ something blue’‚ but it seems singularly appropriate here. ‘Old’ in the shape of some Bach (albeit very obviously Regerised); ‘new’ in music composed for Christopher Herrick in 1996 by the Norwegian composer Sverre Eftestøl; ‘borrowed’ in the use (so heavily disguised that it is only through Stephen Westrop’s helpful notes that I know it is there at all) of Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary in Patrick Gowers’ scintillating opener to the programme; ‘Blue’ in Noel Rawsthorne’s Line Dance‚ a delightfully outrageous variant on the famous
Shaker Melody with bits of Sailors’ Hornpipe‚ Old MacDonald had a farm and On Ilkley Moor bah t’at thrown in. And if generations of brides believed the old rhyme would bring them longlasting marital success‚ Hyperion has found it the key to the continued success of this hugely enjoyable and‚ at times‚ downright spectacular series of ‘Organ Fireworks’. But beyond a fascinating and varied mix of familiar and unfamiliar repertoire‚ the strengths of the series lie in consistently firstrate recordings of some of the world’s most aurally stunning instruments (of which this 57stop organ in Berne – for which details of history and specification as well as a photograph of the case are given‚ but no mention made of its 1999 builder – is a classic example)‚ and Herrick’s playing‚ which can only be described as unfailingly brilliant. There are surely few players around who in the same breath‚ as it were‚ could plunge into the emotional intensity of Langlais’ Paraphrases grégoriennes‚ glide over the glib figurations of Widor’s Toccata‚ dance with agility through a masterly transcription (by Herrick himself) of Bartók’s Romanian Folkdances‚ and delve into the surprising rhythmic intricacies of Wolstenholme’s Bohemesque‚ with its peculiarly disturbing 15/8 timesignature. Herrick is a musician with a powerful urge to communicate. And communicate he does‚ drawing on his enormous technical and intellectual resources to turn out performances which sometimes amaze‚ often astound but never fail to stimulate.
-- Gramophone [10/2001]
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