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Britsich Organ Music: Darke, Alcock, Willan, Jackson, Brockless

Drake / Alcock / Jackson / Johnstone
Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Metier   Catalog #: 92002   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Harold DrakeWalter Galpin AlcockHealey WillanFrancis Jackson,   ... 
Performer:  Andrew Johnstone
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

JOHNSTONE AT ST. PATRICK’S, DUBLIN Andrew Johnstone (org) METIER 92002 (67:39)

DARKE Rhapsody. ALCOCK Introduction and Passacaglia. WILLAN Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue. F. JACKSON Toccata, Chorale, and Fugue. BROCKLESS Read more Introduction, Passacaglia, and Coda

This cleverly conceived 1992 release of 20th-century organ music could have been titled Dedications , because the pieces provide a nearly complete loop of the same. Walter Alcock’s piece is dedicated to Harold Darke; Healey Willan’s to Alcock; Francis Jackson’s to Willan; and Brian Brockless’s to Jackson. As Francis Jackson states in the booklet notes, “If only Harold Darke could have foreseen the birth of Brian Brockless, how neat and tidy a circle would have been created.”

English organist Andrew Johnstone has spent the bulk of his career in Ireland. He is currently on the faculty of Trinity College, Dublin, and has held assistant organist posts at the two Anglican cathedrals in Dublin. This disc is a beautifully played program of five English cathedral works of non-programmatic music for organ ranging from 1908 (Darke) to 1966 (Brockless). (Although Healey Willan emigrated to Canada, his musical style was formed in England and owed much to that tradition.) The Brockless is the most harmonically astringent, but all are tonally grounded.

Of these pieces, only the Willan appears on recitals with meaningful regularity. For this reviewer, the highlight of the disc is the Toccata, Chorale, and Fugue (1955) by Francis Jackson (b. 1917), one of the finest English organists and organ composers of the 20th century. Jackson’s excellent music deserves to be much more widely known than it is. The Willis/Walker organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, serves the repertoire well.

FANFARE: Carson Cooman
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Works on This Recording

Rhapsody for organ in E major, Op. 4 by Harold Drake
Performer:  Andrew Johnstone (Organ)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1908 
Venue:  St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland 
Length: 10 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Introduction and Passacaglia for Organ by Walter Galpin Alcock
Performer:  Andrew Johnstone (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland 
Length: 13 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue for Organ in E flat major, B 149 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Andrew Johnstone (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Canada 
Venue:  St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland 
Length: 20 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Toccata, Chorale and Fugue, Op. 16 by Francis Jackson
Performer:  Andrew Johnstone (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland 
Length: 15 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Introduction, Passacaglia and Coda, for organ by Brian Brockless
Performer:  Andrew Johnstone (Organ)
Venue:  St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 

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