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Hampson Sisler (b.1932) was the youngest ever recipient of the FAGO diploma, and has enjoyed a distinguished career as a church musician and widely published and recorded composer. The suites presented here each consist of a sequence of scenes evoking celebrations of family members and of moments in the church year which have become gradually secularised (St Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day etc). Each improvisatory tableau is infused with melodies associated with the feast day referred to in the title. The melodies themselves spring from a variety of sources: Lutheran, Baptist and Anglican hymn tunes, popular American songs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, music of Japan and of native America. These themes, generally appearing in off-colour harmonic contexts, are more ‘referenced’ than developed in any systematic way, some canonic writing notwithstanding, and the listener is leftwith a sense that this could be incidental music to a film or a play. The London-based Austrian organist Michael König (whose biography is unduly modest regarding his pioneering work to champion the organ in Africa) plays splendidly and with the sense of orchestral colour and control required by the unique, sizeable 1930 Skinner now residing in Ingelheim am Rhein.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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