Review of Tom Winpenny’s CD from St. Albans Cathedral (JAV 190)

 

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The Organ - Summer 2011 – review by Jamal Jonathan Sutton – Five stars

Reproduced with the permission of the magazine

For a debut solo recording, Winpenny has hit the jackpot to my mind with a wonderfully varied assortment of repertoire, fully exploring the wonderful sounds of the 1962 Harrison whilst showing off his fabulous playing.

The disc opens with a burst of excitement in Walton’s ‘March: A History of the English-Speaking Peoples’, arranged and given its first recording by Winpenny here. The piece is full of panache and vigour and the emergence of the Cimbelstern (a new stop added during the 2009 rebuild) towards the end puts a smile on the listener’s face. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 is amongst the harder works in this genre but is here executed with some nimble finger-work and clarity. Sticking to this period, Winpenny also offers Marcel DuprĂ©’s arrangement of Handel’s Concerto in g minor. The full range of colours are visited throughout this work, from the solo stops in the ‘Larghetto’ and ‘Adagio’ to the bright pleno possibilities in the ‘Allegro’ and ‘Andante’, the latter two movements here played with similar dexterity and accuracy equal to that in the Bach.

Healey Willan’s Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue is a large-scale work in which the middle movement is the highlight; each variation upon the ground bass heard at the opening  presents a new and exciting aspect of composition, coupled with an interesting assortment of registrations throughout the work. The sleeve notes, written by Winpenny, explain the background to this piece, not to mention a comprehensive write-up for all of the other works here, including a lengthy descriptive history of the Harrison instrument. Two short lighter works by Peter Hurford precede the first recording of Simon Preston’s Toccata, an exhilarating way to finish the disc. Its constant rhythmic and tonal activity is played with life and energy – a virtuosic work executed with ease. As mentioned, this is Winpenny’s first recording and I can only hope that we will see many more in the future.

This CD can also be downloaded from iTunes (Click here)

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