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Producer Gary Cole notes in the CD liner that the February 2018 sessions for this recording were interrupted by ‘The Beast from the East’ and had to be resumed in April. Happily, no hint of disjunction clouds this cleverly constructed recital programme, which showcases the strength in depth of the musicianship in Britain’s cathedral organ lofts today. Timothy Parsons, Exeter’s assistant director of music, is easily the master of the great Loosemore/Willis/Harrison instrument. Recital stalwarts such as Mendelssohn’s third Sonata, Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster, Elgar’s Imperial March, three of Brahms’s op.122 chorale preludes and Duruflé’s ‘Alain’ Prelude & Fugue are interleaved with Messiaen’s Joie et clarté des corps glorieux (showing offthe Trompette of the remote Minstrel Organ); the Andante Sostenu, which Parsons’s former teacher Mark Blatchly wrote for him based on a cryptogram from his initials; the Larghetto in F sharp minor by S.S. Wesley (another Exeter organ alumnus); and the Voluntary in A minor by Exeter-born Matthew Locke, who was a chorister under Edward Gibbons, brother of Orlando, and who naughtily carved his initials into the stonework of the organ loft(an act of minor vandalism only uncovered during the last organ restoration in 2013). The Revd Mustard his Installation Prelude is an engaging but repetitive-strain- injury-inducing tribute that Nico Muhly wrote for his friend James Mustard’s installation as a London rector, appropriately included here as the Revd Mustard progressed to the post of canon precentor at Exeter in 2018. The Cathedral, and Timothy Parsons, should be rightly proud of this highly satisfying and well-executed programme.

GRAEME KAY Read the full review on Agora Classica


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