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The OHTA-managed project to restore and reconstruct the wonderful Adelaide Town Hall Thomas Hill organ in its new home in Tanunda represents a significant milestone in the re-assessment and appreciation of the best 19th-century English organ building. The instrument was radically changed by an Australian builder in 1970 and the recent project has included reconstruction of the key and stop actions (including the composition pedals with their original settings), winding system and console together with several stops, all in scrupulously original style. A hugely significant project and one which we would do well to emulate in the UK, where organs of such quality are still routinely treated with somewhat less respect, even in the context of supposed ‘restoration’. David Tagg, an architect by profession, shows the organ off magnificently in a programme of works, several of which have links to the organ’s history. Bach’s F major Toccata & Fugue may seem an odd choice but it shows off the aristocratic quality of Hill’s choruses, and Edwin Lemare is known to have performed the piece when the organ was still in Adelaide. Dupré likewise performed on it and is represented by his B major Prelude & Fugue. There are also town hall treats from the likes of Hollins, Goss-Custard and Elgar (‘Pomp and Circumstance’ no.4). With its colourful flutes, strings and splendid reeds, and sounding gorgeous in its new home, this landmark project is finely promoted through this CD.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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