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Thirty years after his death, Howells’s music remains central to Anglican church tradition and recital repertoire, both worlds meeting in this brace of fine discs sharing three items. The first marks the recording debut of David Newsholme and situates Howells solidly within English romanticism on Salisbury Cathedral’s IV/65 ‘Father’ Willis. The second, making its way to the UK seven years after its original release in New Zealand, comes courtesy of the then ex-pat Robert Costin on the 3,500-pipe, IV/75 William Hill ‘Norma’ organ of Dunedin Town Hall.

The tumultuous, poetic and rhythmically fierce Organ Sonata no.2 receives full and forceful treatment by both soloists, Costin’s reading more adroitly contrasted, Newsholme’s more consistently intense. They share a similar approach to both the elegantly slow-burning arc of the second Intrata and the muscular drama of the second op.17 Rhapsody, with Costin more satisfyingly brooding and pent-up.

Costin’s treatment of the late Partitas both nuanced and nimble, finding youthful, even athletic prowess in the then 77-year-old Howells’s tribute to Edward Heath. Newsholme finds similar quali- ties in the remaining three Rhapsodiesand makes one regret the relative rarity on disc of the declamatory Flourish for a Bidding and the sprightly swansong St Louis comes to Clifton.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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