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a marvellous organ given a thorough portrait
on 24 August 2017
This DVD gives much enjoyment for the inspired programming and the beauty of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Its organist, Richard Lea, gives a very good introduction to all the stops using a lot of Durufle, among other contrasting pieces by Sweelinck, Pachelbel and many others. The programme seems to be very well thought out, leading up to a magnificent performance of Liszt's Fantasia and Fugue Ad Nos, Ad salutarum undam. Lea's love of the piece comes across well, positively blazingly at times. The shorter pieces which precede it are all remarkable in their way and tie in well with Liverpool's history: a piece by Bonnet called Titanic mourns the loss of life in that disaster a century before the recording was made, and is highly effective, preceded by a Bach Prelude and Fugue that is one of the few concessions to tried and tested paths. Most of the composers are not well known but this makes the disc all the more surprising. It starts with the joining of two pieces by Susato and Purcell; another highlights George Martin's Theme One which pays tribute to The Beatles and many others, but without trying to turn the instrument into something it isn't. Instead he treats the music very much for the organ, and achieves a grand effect in conjunction with his assistant organist, playing four hands. Meanwhile you can never tire of seeing this superb cathedral from many different angles, and Liverpool as well - Theme One has an inspired video treatment starting off inside a jukebox and casting a vivid eye back to the city in around 1970. I'd say this is one of the best in the series, and Lea is very engaging as well as an outstanding player.