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It seems curious that, after recording Vierne in Rouen, Buxtehude in Hamburg, Liszt in Merseburg and even Krebs in Weingarten, MDG should release a CD of early 20th-century music by the American Horatio Parker on a modern Kuhn organ. Rudolf Innig’s justification that the organ has late romantic leanings and (on paper) all the sounds Parker requests may be true but, despite its three enclosures and high pressure ‘Turmwerk’ (with tuba), it lacks any real lyricism above mezzo piano with the chorus reeds cold and stolidly objective. This is a shame as, for me, it spoils Innig’s intuitive and commanding performances. Parker was a pupil of Rheinberger and while his music shares the latter’s inherent conservatism, it occasionally finds a lighter touch (Scherzino in op.66 no.3, Allegretto in op.65 no.3) than his teacher was capable of. The near-30 minute sonata op.65 is worthy of further investigation if never quite compelling.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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