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a CD of music by, or inspired by, Georg Frideric Handel
played on the Handel House chamber organ at St George’s Hanover Square by Paul Ayres
Ayres is outstanding as composer, arranger, editor and skilful player. . . this CD is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable and original recordings I've heard.
(The Gramophone, May 2008)
Ayres's playing is exemplary ***** [five stars: "highly recommended"]
(Choir & Organ, July/August 2008)
In truth, there isn't a dud track here and Paul Ayres' playing is consistently well judged. This is a recital which has lifted my spirits each time I have listened to it!
(MusicWeb International, August 2008)
This CD features a varied collection of pieces, many recorded for the first time. There are examples of GFH’s music originally written for organ, and arrangements of well-known instrumental works. Complementing the genius of Handel (who regularly attended St George’s Hanover Square) are composers who have been ‘Handel-inspired’, including Samuel Wesley, Alexandre Guilmant and William Wolstenholme. Then there are eight brand new works selected from the 98 international entries to the Handel-Inspired Composition Competition, generously supported by the Hinrichsen Foundation and by the Kenneth Leighton Trust. Full track listing below.
The music is played on the 1998 chamber organ (one manual, no pedals) by Goetze and Gwynn, a reproduction of a mid-eighteenth century instrument owned by Charles Jennens (‘librettist’ of Messiah), commissioned by the Handel House Museum. Specification below.
HANDEL-INSPIRED CD track list
Handel’s keyboard music
Overture to Esther
Fugue in A minor
Voluntary in C major
Arrangements of Handel’s instrumental music
Air & Bourrée, from Water Music
Siliciano & Minuet, from Music for the Royal Fireworks
Sinfonia from Solomon (“The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”)
Pieces for Musical Clock
Handel-Inspired pieces from the nineteenth century
Alexandre Guilmant - Paraphrase
Samuel Wesley - Variations on Gavot from Handel’s Ottone
William Wolstenholme - Introduction and Allegro, from Sonata for the Organ in the style of Handel
Handel-Inspired pieces from the twenty-first century
Paul Ayres, after Handel - The Departure of the Queen of Sheba [catalogue link]
John Ellis - Overture and Gigue, from Handel-Inspired Suite
John Hawkins - Footnote
Satoru Ikeda - Water Bubbling
Krzysztof Aleksander Janczak - Le Tombeau d’Handel
Jos Martens - Little Prelude
Thomas Neal - Lednah Loblied
Akmal Parwez - In Handel’s Name
Alan Smith - Scherzo on “Gopsal”
THE ORGAN was made for the Handel House Trust, which in 2001 opened a museum in the house where Handel lived for the last 36 years of his life: 25 Brook Street in Mayfair. The instrument is based on the chamber organs of Richard Bridge and Thomas Parker, who built the organ which belonged to Charles Jennens, which still exists close to its original condition.
Stop Diapason [wood]
Open Diapason (c#¹ - e³) [metal]
Sesquialtera II (GG - c¹) [metal]
Cornet II (c#¹ - e³) [metal]
The key compass is 54 notes (GG AA C D - e³). The metal ranks are all divided into bass and treble halves at c¹/c#¹. There is a shifting movement pedal which removes the metal ranks (if drawn).
The pitch is a¹=415Hz. The wind pressure is 51mm. The organ is 263cm high, 141cm wide and 75cm deep. It has a stained oak case, with gilded dummy metal front pipes, and a gilded cherub's head. The keys have ebony naturals and sandwich sharps. The stop knobs are ebony, next to engraved brass labels.
WEBLINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Paul Ayres www.paulayres.co.uk
St George’s Church www.stgeorgeshanoversquare.org
Goetze and Gwynn www.goetzegwynn.co.uk
Handel House Museum www.handelhouse.org