Organ Music from Hexham Abbey
Gerald Gifford plays the Phelps organ
CANTORIS CRCD 6060
The Lawrence Phelps organ in Hexham Abbey is here an ideal instrument for the eighteenth century interests of Gerald Gifford who brings a nobility and panache to all the items included. The opening Bach Prelude & Fugue BWV 545 has just enough steel in it to fire the rhythms but a warmth in its belly to upset any thoughts of North German acidity. I often feel Krebs is unjustly ignored today and so it is pleasing to have his Fantasia à gusto Italiano included, alongside short works by Albinoni, D'Aquin, Couperin and Gerber. The later part of the disc brings a series of British works ranging from Stanley's Voluntary VIII in D minor, Wesley's Air & Gavotte, passing through S Wesley's arrangement of Rule, Britannia to S S Wesley's familiar but welcome Choral Song & Fugue.
In all these works the organ shines with great clarity and presence, coupled to warmly committed interpretations. A real delight.