Between about 1550 and 1830, some of the most beautiful English music was written for the organ, by composers such as Byrd, Purcell, Handel and Stanley. In the documentary The Elusive English Organ, Daniel Moult sets out to perform this repertoire on appropriate organs of the time.
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“Moult infuses an engaging film with a fascination for his subject, amply illustrated with beautifully played musical examples. … His control of historic instruments is always excellent. … The accompanying CD features appropriate music played on all the organs featured in the film.”
Chris Bragg - Choir and Organ Magazine, September / October 2010
"His sheer enthusiasm for the organs and their music is extremely infectious, and this, of course, comes across on the DVD, but especially on the magnificent accompanying CD, containing definitive performances of works by Byrd, Purcell, S Wesley and Stanley amongst others...the performances...sound wonderfully natural and ebullient...Watching the DVD is a relief, especially after watching many an organ video in darker times, whose production values and camera work often owed much to the Blair Witch Project. The quality is superb, as is the recorded organ sound on the DVD, as well as, of course, the CD accompanying....Hats off to Daniel and the team for substantially raising the bar on organ DVDs. My only caveat was that I wanted more I will eagerly seek out the other DVDs from Fugue State Films in the series."
The Summer Arts Festival at St. Peter's Vauxhall is making relatively little use of its T.C. Lewis organ of 1870, for the simple reason that the instrument stands in need of much-deserved restoration.
Daniel Moult, one of the finest organists of our time, lent his advocacy to the project with a carefully crafted programme on July 6 that allowed aural glimpses - despite a leaking windchest and some very wayward intonation - of a really special organ. (The recital was preceded by the screening of a DVD played and presented by Mr Moult - The Elusive English Organ - detailing the history and repertoire of English instruments extant, preserved, bowdlerised or destroyed, from the earliest years to the Victorian era: a joy of a film that should be screened on BBC3!) Mr Moult began spiritedly with Handel's 4th Concerto as refracted through the fertile imagination of W. T. Best, including a quite impure and thorouehlv delightful cadenza. Mr Moult revelled in what is misguidedly thought of nowadays as wickedness!
Bach's 'violin' Fugue in D minor BWV539 followed in a spritely tempo that no violinist could ever hope to emulate. Two of Elgar's Vesper Voluntaries and Mendelssohn's E flat Variations were lovingly played as if part of a personal conversation in a Victorian drawing-room, and the recital concluded with an exuberant account of Dubois' very naughty Toccata. More, please!
Copyright Musical Opinion Limited Aug-Oct 2010
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