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This is a nice snapshot of a forgotten slice of early 20th-century American organ culture. James Rogers (1857-1940) was a student of Clarence Eddy, Carl Haupt (in Berlin) and, for a period of three years, Charles-Marie Widor (composition) and Alexandre Guilmant (organ) in Paris. He spent the vast majority of his career in Cleveland, Ohio. Rogers’s own compositions are undeniably conservative, though well crafted. Sharing obvious stylistic similarities with contemporary Horatio Parker, Rogers is more succinct, if less obviously Germanic and with many melodic turns reminiscent of Guilmant, although the first movement recapitulation at the conclusion of the second sonata is a trait typical of Parker’s teacher, Rheinberger. Charles Echols, currently engaged in the editing of a new edition of Rogers’s works, performs on an organ very familiar to listeners of Michael Barone’s Pipedreams radio programme. Originally built in 1927 for Phillips Academy in Andover, it was rescued and remodelled for the newly built Mahtomedi church in 1999 by Schantz. The organ retains, nevertheless, its distinctive early 20th-century North American dark chocolate tonal hue (with an especially impressive range of orchestral reeds) and its 73-note windchests. It proves an ideal vehicle for this interesting repertoire.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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