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Although dominated by the works of Greene, Croft, Stanley and of course Handel, eighteenth-century English music written specifically for the organ owes much to a lesser-known figure. Organist and composer John Reading (1685/6–1764) was also an avid collector and copyist of music written during his own lifetime and immediately before, and among the numerous tomes known as the Reading manuscripts, are three volumes of organ music. Donated by Reading to Dulwich College to ensure their safekeeping, the pieces date from 1717 to 1734 and form one of the most important sources of English organ music in the eighteenth century. Playing the organ in Christ’s Chapel of God’s Giftin Dulwich, Riccardo Bonci’s recording highlights the changing styles of the organ voluntary, from the old, highly ornamented contrapuntal style to a more lightly textured early eighteenth- century style. Composers include Blow, Greene, Croftand Stanley alongside a Mr Seedo and John Reading himself. Bonci’s performances are slick and polished, making full use of the colourful and varied disposition of George England’s 1760 organ.

Katharine May Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing