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How fine to hear a relatively unknown civic Ernest Skinner organ, unaltered and now in mint condition. Dating from 1926, the 4-manual instrument at Stambaugh Auditorium has recently been restored by the Thomson-Allen company, which specialises in conservation-led projects on organs from the Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner firms. Colin Lynch plays a really stonking programme of music from the first half of the 20th century, includ- ing English works by Whitlock and Parry, Roger-Ducasse’s Pastorale and, recalling the composer’s admiration for Skinner’s organs, Vierne’s Sixth Symphony. Lynch’s playing occasionally seems a bit static for all his virtuosity (the first of the Whitlock Five Short Pieces, the opening of the Roger-Ducasse), but he conquers the chromatic jungle of the Vierne and Parry (at his most Reger-like in ‘The Wanderer’) admirably. The recording is excellent with an unusually good sense of perspective in a dry room, and the booklet is full of interesting information and fine photos. Warmly recommended.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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