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CD Review

Edward Elgar

Organ Works

  • Organ Sonata in E Major, Op. 28
  • Enigma Variations Op. 36 (Transcribed for organ by Keith John)
Keith John, organ
Hyperion CDA67363 65m DDD
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We have already had a recent piano transcription of the 'Enigma Variations' on AS&V so this intriguing issue of an organ arrangement is most welcome. It shows the intrinsic inventiveness and ever permeating freshness of this most popular work.

Keith John plays on the Organ of The Temple Church, London and this is a suitably powerful, yet subtle instrument for the proceedings. The G Major Organ Sonata is most exquisitely portrayed; it is a jovial and brilliantly evocative piece on all fronts. Incidentally this work was orchestrated by Gordon Jacob and it was also recorded by Vernon Handley with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (EMInence, no longer available).

The Enigma Variations take on a heroic almost sullenly brooding stance in an organ arrangement. The party pieces such as 'Nimrod' and the concluding EDU are extremely beautiful whilst the more finicky CAE and RBT lose some of their character in this arrangement. However John plays with persuasive advocacy and the project is thoroughly commendable. An excellent recording and the usual copious notes sum up a strong recommendation.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech