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Grand Organ Of Canterbury Cathedral / Robinson

Bach / Debussy / Britten / Robinson
Release Date: 10/11/2011 
Label:  Priory Records Uk (Dvd)   Catalog #: 6  
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyJohann Sebastian BachAlfred HollinsHealey Willan,   ... 
Performer:  John Robinson
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Will give tremendous pleasure to any discerning music-lover.

This DVD is a real treat, living up to Priory’s exceptionally high standards and pretty much exemplifying what a music DVD should be. John Robinson has organised a programme of organ music for Canterbury based around the idea of travelling: after all, Canterbury was the spot in which Christianity is said to have arrived in England and for centuries pilgrims travelled there to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket. He chooses organ pieces that revolve around the device of structured movement, most notably the passacaglia, chaconne and ground bass. It’s highly effective as a concept and they’re all very well played, from the raw, hoary grandeur of Shostakovich’s
Read more Passacaglia, used in Lady Macbeth, to the gentler, more familiar tones of Pachelbel’s Canon, here working very well in Robinson’s own transcription. Other pieces like Mussorgsky’s Promenade and Debussy’s Footprints follow up the theme in a less formal manner.
 
Each piece is played with consummate skill and a complete lack of showiness, and it’s even more impressive that Robinson plays from memory. What really sets this DVD out as special, however, is the overall approach to the production. This isn’t just a concert that was taped: from start to finish it has been sensitively constructed as a complete experience for home viewing. The accompanying visuals are expertly chosen and act as a guided tour of the Cathedral that complements the music very well indeed. During Bach’s great Passacaglia and Fugue, for example, the camera homes in on the architectural detail of the vaulting and tower to emphasise architecture of Bach’s work; every section of the cathedral gets similar treatment as the DVD progresses. The disc isn’t limited just to this, either: at different moments we get lovely shots of the Kent countryside and surrounding area; the tourist board would be proud. During Ridout’s Path in the Wood, for example, we are taken through the local woodland, while Hollins’ Song of Sunshine - a delightful piece, incidentally - is accompanied by shots of Kent bathed in summer brightness; apparently Kent is the English county that gets the most hours of sunshine per annum. Every track has a special pictorial partnership that works very well and is never hackneyed: it goes without saying that the shots of the organ itself are subtle and well chosen, always leading the eye where the ear says it should be.
 
The quality of sound on the DVD is exemplary, each of the six speakers being used expertly to create a perfect sense of space, and the two documentaries are also excellent: Robinson talks intelligently about the choices he made in putting together the programme (9 minutes) and we are given a well managed tour of the organ itself in another extra (20 minutes). The quality of sound on the accompanying CD is bright and crystal clear, but the excellence of approach on the DVD makes this an immeasurably richer experience than the CD. This will give tremendous pleasure to any discerning music-lover, and it’s one that should be watched by music producers to show them how a music DVD should be done.
 
-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Pictures at an exhibition: Promenade by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
2. Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708-1712; Arnstadt, Germany 
3. A Song of Sunshine by Alfred Hollins
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Modern 
4. Chaconne by Healey Willan
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
5. Préludes, Book 1: no 6, Des pas sur la neige by Claude Debussy
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
6. Path in the Wood by Alan Ridout
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
7. Sonata for Organ no 8 in E minor, Op. 132: Passacaglia by Joseph Rheinberger
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Germany 
8. Ground for Keyboard, MB 20 no 26 by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 17th Century; England 
9. They Walk Alone: Prelude by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938 
10. Canon and Gigue for 3 Violins and Basso Continuo in D major: Canon by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
11. Passacaglia by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
12. Marche des Rois Mages by Théodore Dubois
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
13. Toccata and Fugue for Organ "The Wanderer" by Charles Hubert Parry
Performer:  John Robinson (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912-1918; England 

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