Elgar: The Complete Original Organ Music offers three pieces that are fairly obscure to a lay audience: the Cantique, first scored for wind quintet; the Sonata in G major, slow to enter the repertoire but now a favorite recital piece; and the Vesper Voluntaries, originally conceived for harmonium, with one movement planned for a string quartet that was left unfinished. To put together a full CD of Edward Elgar's organ music, then, Daniel Justin was obliged to include three arrangements of famous pieces to round out the program, the Imperial March, the Nimrod Variation from the Enigma Variations, and the Pomp and Circumstance March, No. 1, all originally composed for orchestra. Thus, the only work that was solely intended for organ is the Sonata, a glorious piece that receives a jubilant performance by Justin, and sounds spectacular on the grand organ of Leeds Cathedral. Listeners should get to know it, but they may feel less enthusiastic for the curiously jaunty Cantique and the somber and sentimental Vesper Voluntaries, and perhaps non-plussed that so much of the album is devoted to transcriptions, somewhat belying the title. Still, it takes nothing away from Justin's solid performances and the superb recording, and fans of Elgar's stirring music may want this CD for the sake of completeness.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Sonata in G Op. 28|
|Vesper Voluntaries Op. 14|