PHI CD 176: Romantic Masterpieces for Organ performed by Roger Fisher
Walcker-Oberlinger organ Marktkirche Wiesbaden, Germany
Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) Sonata No. 6 in E flat minor Opus 119
Englebert Humperdinck (1854-1921) Overture: Hansel and Gretel
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Fantasia on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam from Meyerbeer's opera Le Prophète
The Organ of Coventry Cathedral
A Father Willis organ of 43 stops stood in the ancient Cathedral of St.Michael when it was destroyed in a German air raid on November 14th 1940. During the early planning stage for the new cathedral, Harrison and Harrison Ltd. of Durham were chosen to build a new organ, though their initial tonal designs were modified in the light of current organ-building developments, of which Ralph Downes' scheme for the new organ in The Royal Festival Hall (built by Harrisons) was the most important. The stoplist for Coventry was drawn up by a number of organists in consultation with Cuthbert Harrison and the resulting specification is a remarkably eclectic mix - in the familiar phrase of the time it was intended as 'an organ to do justice to all periods and schools of organ composition'. However purists of today may view the scheme with hindsight or judge it after forty years of regular use, this instrument is still an amazing achievement. It combines freshness, excitement and colour in a coherent unified character. Many believe it to be the greatest one-off achievement by an English organ builder in the 20th Century. Essentially unchanged since completion in 1962, it is currently in the care of David Wells Esq. of Liverpool.
A note on Placement: The organ is sited on concrete shelves either side of the chancel. The entire Solo, entire Swell, Choir Flutes and Cromorne and some Pedal stops are on the (liturgical) north side; Choir Chorus, entire Great and the remainder of the Pedal are on the south side. In practice these are heard more-or-less in synchronisation from the detached all-electric console. In our recording we have aimed to reproduce this unique separation to the listener's advantage wherever possible.