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The four-manual, 102-rank Klais organ (with two cymbelsterns and nachtigall) enables James Hicks to give this varied repertoire all the required stature, drama and colour. The earliest composer is Niels Gade (1817-90), but most are contemporary Scandinavians, plus Arthur Wills, whose ‘The Vikings’ (Fenland Suite, 1981, transcribed 1997), receives an impressive performance. Subject matter ranges from symphonies and a passacaglia to evocations of Nordic landscapes, variations on folk songs and national hymns, folk dances and (written down) improvisations, with idioms ranging from modal to pan-tonal. Hicks relishes the full range of colours and contrasts on this exploratory CD-set. Most impressive.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica

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