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The Queen’s Organ in the Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey was built by Mander in 2013, the result of a collaboration between the then Lord Mayor Sir Roger Gifford, the City of London Corporation, and the Dean and Chapter. An instrument of two manuals and 11 stops, all unenclosed, it is described by the builder, as is often the case in the UK, without reference to any stylistic influence beyond a reference to an ‘English’ Stopped Diapason. James O’Donnell’s programme suggests it to be an elegant vehicle for a variety of early English literature in particular. As ever, his playing is scrupulously polished, and Bull’s virtuosic Salve Regina and Byrd’s ‘Lady Nevell’ Fantasia are especially enjoyable. Disappointing, though, are a rather square performance of Bach’s Pièce d’orgue (in which the full plenum appears only in the final cadence), and mannered registration changes in the outer movements of Mendelssohn’s B flat sonata. It’s a pity too that, with the exception of the 8ft flutes, we hardly hear any individual stops in the whole programme: the Open Diapason only very briefly, the 4fts not at all, nor do we hear the birdsong and thunder described in the booklet.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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