The Organ Sonata by Elgar is relatively well-known, not least thanks to its orchestration by Gordon Jacob, but the only other work he originally composed for organ is the Cantique Op.3 No.1, which moves solidly forward in the Victorian tradition without suggesting the personal voice and unpredictable drama that would come to characterise Elgar’s style.
The set of Vesper Voluntaries Op.14, and this has had far fewer recordings. These gloriously intimate and expressive miniatures date from 1889-90, shortly after Elgar’s conversion to Catholicism, and in their simple songfulness betray their origin as pieces for harmonium. Three other arrangements of Elgar at his most representatively English were made by later organists: the Imperial March, the first of the Pomp and Circumstance marches, and ‘Nimrod’ from the Enigma Variations.
The Sonata in particular demands the full resources of the kind of English cathedral organ for which Elgar wrote it (with the main instrument at Worcester in mind) and the Norman and Beard organ at Leeds Cathedral is a fine example of the style, recently and thoroughly restored by Klais. Daniel Justin has been the Cathedral Organist since 2013, and has played on other Leeds-originated recordings for Brilliant Classics, including a complete set of Maurice Duruflé’s music for choir and organ (BC9264).
This new recording contains Elgar’s complete original works for organ, as well as several arrangements of his famous showpieces, the first Pomp & Circumstance March, the Imperial March and Nimrod from the Enigma Variations, an iconic piece of English ceremony.
The original organ works consist of the grand Organ Sonata and the Vespers Voluntaries, a touching expression of Elgar’s Roman Catholic faith.
Played on the magnificent Norman and Beard organ of Leeds Cathedral, a setting which does full justice to the opulent and romantic character of Elgar’s music. Organist Daniel Justin is the Cathedral Organist since 2013.
Booklet contains liner notes on the works and full details of the organ.