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DAVID BEDNALL - Magna Voce - Organ Works - Paul Walton (Organ) - Organ of Blackburn Cathedral - 802561049821 - Released: November 2017 - Regent REGCD498

Magna voce cane et magno cum jubilo
Passion Chorale / Herzlich thut mich verlangen: Meditation
Ach Herre Gott, mich treibt die Not
Evocation of Wells Cathedral 'O Radix Jesse'
Festal Sortie on 'Gopsal'
Charity: Berceuse
Adagio for Organ
Toccata: Aberystwyth
Wie schön leuchtet: Meditation
Triptych in Honour of Herbert Howells

There's a tremendous amount of kinetic energy within the Magna voce cane et magno cum jubilo, so much so that a lesser organist might get swept up by its power and lose control over its ambit, but organist Paul Walton drives it relentlessly to its final, inevitably powerful chord that leaves you wondering how the cathedral could possibly still be standing in its wake. After all the title translates to "Play with a loud voice and with the greatest joy" and Paul Walton supplies the exuberance while the impressive 1969 Walker Organ of Blackburn Cathedral provides the power. At the other end of the spectrum lies the peaceful and sombre Adagio for Organ. Based on an oddly disquieting and sadly beautiful theme with a Mahlerian (booklet notes) outlook, it slowly builds to an inexorable level of power only to drift back down to one of the best conceived and serenely beautiful endings I've heard in quite a while. These are the only two pieces on this CD that have had contact with microphones in the past, whereas all the other works on offer are world première recordings, that well represent composer David Bednall's steadfast and yet groundbreaking approach to music.

Iubilium for example, demands from the organist a great control over highly rhythmic counterpoint combined with slightly demented waves of expressive release that could send uninformed church attendees running for cover, whilst the Charity: Berceuse as its title conveys, moves along with a gentle rocking momentum and ends so quietly as to be almost inaudible. These two pieces alone capture the extremes of tone quality and dynamics that this magnificent pipe organ can produce.

This is another very well engineered recording by Regent that not only realistically projects this pipe organ's character, but also captures the natural size and scope of the building's acoustics, and sits you down in the central pews. Highly recommended for all pipe organ music enthusiasts. May I also recommend you read this review of David Bednall's deeply moving Stabat Mater.

Jean-Yves Duperron - January 2018