The Organ

SOUNDS IDYLLIC: Music by Stanford, Bridge and others

Peter Dyke at the Willis organ of Hereford Cathedral
Lammas LAMM 148D

The main work featured on this CD is A Little Organ Book in Memory of Hubert Parry. This work was published after his death and contains music by his contemporaries and successors. Some the music was played at his funeral. The pieces are all relatively straightforward and are just the kind of ‘voluntary fodder’ that is still very useful, at least in the Anglican tradition. This is not to decry or belittle the music, for in this anthology is encapsulated all that was good about the English cathedral organist tradition of the Late Victorian and Edwardian period. There are more ‘modern’ contributions from Frank Bridge, Harold Darke, George Thalben-Ball, Charles Wood and others.

The other two anthologies both have six pieces and both are by a single composer: Stanford’s Six Short Preludes and Postludes, Opus 101 and Bridge’s Six Organ Pieces. Both sets repay further listening and playing – perhaps the lesser-known Bridge pieces in particular.

The real star of this recording is, of course, the organ. The fact that there are so many short pieces (25 in all) means that there is ample opportunity to show off the diverse riches of the Hereford Cathedral organ, which sounds magnificent, not least in its quieter registers. Peter Dyke clearly understands the music, the organ, and how best to bring the two together as a homage to a fine English composer and a great tradition.