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Bristol Cathedral houses one of the lesser-known masterpieces of the English Imperial style, the marvellous 1907 Walker organ, still on its original pneumatic key action (although without, unfortunately, its original stop action, electrified to facilitate a ‘modern’ combination system in 1989). How fortunate Bristol is to have two so well preserved and yet so different versions of the late romantic English vernacular! Particular kudos here goes to the Cathedral’s assistant organist, Paul Walton, who performs a programme of largely unknown English repertoire from the late 19th and early 20th centuries with total and entirely unself-conscious commitment, and a palpable sense of belief in both instrument and repertoire. A particular highlight is Jeremy Cull’s challenging transcription of Elgar’s Severn Suite, a huge improvement on Ivor Atkins’s unsatisfactory partial transcription as the composer’s Second Organ Sonata. An unknown sonata by John Cook is also interesting to hear and the organ revels in works by Alcock, Harwood and Sumsion among others. Very recommendable.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing