The Organ

The Organ

David Baker
Shire Publications
ISBN 0 7478 0560 1

Readers will know and value Dr David Baker's regular contributions to this magazine and it is a pleasure to be able to recommend the new edition of his standard work on the Organ. It is amazing how much has changed in the twelve years since it was first published and the new edition covers much that has been discovered in that time in terms of historical research - in particular the remains of two pre-Reformation instruments - and the large number of new instruments built both in this country and throughout the world. There are many more photographs than in the earlier edition and they are also of a higher quality.

Useful additions are also evident in the list of addresses and contacts, plus the expected bibliography and discography. While realising that this latter can rapidly go out of date he wisely points readers in the direction of a number of websites which can provide details of more up to date recordings. The gazetteer gives a comprehensive list of important instruments across the country and would make a fitting start for anyone wishing to visit and hear a range of organs within a particular area. If I have any quibble with the book it is on a purely personal basis. I think Handel is far more important to organ music in this country than David allows but this should not stop anyone from buying a very valuable introduction to the king of instruments. If you really want to encourage a friend to take the organ seriously, this is the book to give them.