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It can no longer go unnoticed that the busy organ department at the Birmingham Royal Conservatoire is producing a steady stream of gifted players under the vision and leadership of Henry Fairs, and now Daniel Moult. Callum Alger, a Fairs pupil, is the second to produce a debut solo CD in recent times while still in statu pupillari. Given the largely mainstream and oft-recorded nature of the repertoire heard here, this was a brave undertaking for Alger and for Regent alike. Compliments to both, then: while Alger’s identity as a performer will undoubtedly develop, his music- making here is unfailingly elegant. Bruhns’s Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland fantasia betrays fastidious attention to detail, Bach’s Herr Jesu Christ trio is poised and attractive, and the accelerando in Mendelssohn’s third sonata is nicely judged. The Garnier organ charms in solo and smaller combinations, aided by the exceptional acoustics, less so in the plenum. Meanwhile, at St Chad’s, Alger performs a real rarity, a vigorously wrought sonata on Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern by Carl Reinecke. He concludes with Reger’s Halleluja! Gott zu loben fantasia, a real tour de force slightly limited by the (otherwise quite cultured) Walker’s slight lack of dynamic extremes (especially softvariety at 8ft pitch) and reliance on reeds for larger effects, unlike the instruments Reger had in mind. Alger’s is a name to watch out for.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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