J STANLEY: THE COMPLETE VOLUNTARIES FOR ORGAN
Margaret Phillips at the historic organs of St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, St James, Bermondsey, London, St Peter & St Paul, Blandford Forum and St Mary, Rotherhithe, London
Margaret Phillips captures the spirit of the eighteenth century marvellously on this first complete recording of John Stanley’s Opus 5, 6 and 7 voluntaries. The four historic English organs used are an immense source of sound that provide the performance verve and drive, throwing monotony out of the back door.
The organ of St Helen, Bishopsgate, was built by Thomas Griffin between 1742 and 1743. It has undergone its most modern reconstruction (1995) by Goetze & Gwynn. Goetze and Gwynn also restored in 2002 the James Chapman Bishop organ found at St James, Bermondsey, which he built in 1829. St Mary in Rotherhithe houses an organ built by John Byfield in 1764, which has gone under numerous alterations over the years: England and Russell, 1800, 1829; Robson 1859; Gray & Davison, 1870, 1882; Partly restored by Mander in 1959 and 1975 with further minor changes by Goetze and Gwynn in 1991. St Peter and Paul, Blandford Forum, Dorset is the home to an organ by George Pike England from 1794, which was altered by Hill in 1876, 1893 and 1896. It was partly restored by Mander in 1971.
Phillips’ practical understanding and knowledge of the more historic organs in England is easily accepted upon hearing this performance. The colourings and the contrasts through many and varied registrations enhance and highlight Stanley’s compositions. To aid our perception Phillips’ gives us all the answers to the wide-ranging choices of registration in the very informative accompanying booklet. In its complete form this should be a must.