Notes and Editorial Reviews
Lancelot’s excellent playing brings out the best in the magical Durham Willis/Harrison organ – and in the often underrated Parry.
It’s been fashionable in recent times for record companies to issue ‘Complete Works of … ’ CDs, and this provides a welcome opportunity for performers and listeners to make fresh discoveries about well-known composers. It’s a pity that such enterprise is not necessarily matched in the concert hall; for example, the RSNO’s Bax/ Naxos series has not been duplicated by live performances. However, British music has been well served by the independent labels, and Chandos and Hyperion have released CDs of music by Bantock, Dyson, Lambert, Stanford and many others. Priory has also made a significant
contribution with its surveys of the organ works of Harwood, Howells, Ireland and Whitlock, and this two-CD set is a worthy addition to this collection.
It’s all too easy to dismiss Parry’s music as being workmanlike and living in the shadow of Bach and Brahms. Yet there is real beauty and passion here, and at his best Parry can match the intensity of his contemporary Max Reger. The appeal of this recording is enhanced by the inclusion of both the published and unpublished versions of the C major Fantasia and Fugue, and also by A Little Organ Book. This latter collection is an intensely moving tribute to Parry by 13 of his friends, colleagues and pupils (including Stanford, Bridge and Thalben-Ball).
This recording presents the best possible advocacy for Parry, and the combination of Lancelot and the Durham Willis/Harrison organ is, to coin a phrase, a ‘dream ticket’. The greatness of Lancelot’s playing lies in the perfect fusion of meticulously honed detail with an effortless flow to the whole performance. He fully exploits the beauty and grandeur of Durham’s magical organ, and of all the available CDs I think this one is the finest showcase for this most charismatic of cathedral instruments. The excellence of the playing is matched by the recording, and Jeremy Dibble has written an extremely comprehensive booklet – a model of its type. Quite simply, this is a definitive, outstanding, glorious recording.'
-- Christopher Nickol, Gramophone [12/2000]
Works on This Recording
Elegy for Organ by Charles Hubert Parry
James Lancelot (Organ)
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