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French Organ Masterworks and Improvisations / Anthony Hammond, organ

Notes & Reviews:

Anthony Hammond is an English concert organist, improviser, composer and musicologist. A graduate of the University of Bristol, he is director of music at Cirencester Parish Church.

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
Anthony Hammond, currently organist of Cirencester Parish Church, is a specialist in French organ music and improvisation. His playing here is solid and secure. In an age when far too many organists play the romantic repertory (or any repertory, for that matter) in a rigid and mechanical way, it is good to hear Hammond's flexibility of rhythm and tempo. After completing the recording sessions for the Franck and Widor pieces, Hammond and the engineers found themselves with several extra hours, so Hammond suggested recording some improvisations. The first two are direct responses to Widor's Symphony 5 and the Franck Chorales. The improvised five-movement symphony, Hommage a Widor transparently uses the structural format of Widor's symphony as its framework.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
The extensive and informative notes by the performer supply analysis of both the composed works and improvised pieces. He also addresses the controversy about how to register Franck's organ works - he played, at St Clotilde, an organ that was somewhat unusual for French instruments of the period. Hammond makes a most convincing argument for the latter.


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