PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Fantasia on "O Magnum Mysterium", 3 Organ Voluntaries, Farewell to Stromness, ALEXANDER GOEHR (b.1932): Chaconne, Op. 34a, RONALD STEVENSON (b.1928): Chorale Prelude and Fugue on themes from Wagner, MARTIN BUSSEY (b.1958): And an old white horse..., 3 Border Studies, Anima Christi, MATTHEW SERGEANT (b.1984): Toccata, SASHA JOHNSON MANNING (b.1963): Puck, EMMA NIELSEN (b.1984): Elevated Echoes (of a lost past), GARY CARPENTER (b.1951): Variations.
Catalogue Number: 10Q070
Label: LIR Classics
Description: A nicely varied program of works by composers associated with the rich musical heritage of England's northern center of music, and certainly of music education, Manchester. Two pillars of British modernity from the 'Manchester School' are represented by large, atonal works from the 60s and 70s; subsequent generations perceptibly move in the direction of tonality. Nielsen's grand fantasia on a Northumbrian folksong and Manning's playful scherzo would likely find a sympathetic ear with Stevenson, who has spent a long and illustrious career demonstrating that it's possible to be stunningly original and inventive without ever turning one's back on tradition - as demonstrated in his typically masterly, freely personalized use of fugue form. Busseys' pieces are firmly tonality-based; three evocative impressions of historically resonant places and two meditations on images of Christian symbolism from T.S. Eliot and a fourteenth centruy text, while Carpenter's diverse set of variations on a sequence of chords amply exploit the organ's range of sonority, as does Sergeant's gleefully dissonant, humorous Toccata. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Tom Bell (organ of Blackburn Cathedral and chamber organ by Kenneth Tickell)