César Franck - Organ Works
Assistant Director of Music, John Challenger, performs organ works by nineteenth-century composer César Franck on the Cathedral’s famous Father Willis organ. This album was recorded prior to the dismantling of Salisbury's famous instrument in 2019 for major restoration. The programme includes Franck’s Pièce Heroïque, the Prelude, Fugue and Variation, along with the gigantic Three Chorals for Organ, which Franck composed in 1890, immediately prior to his death. This is the first album to be released independently by Salisbury Cathedral, and all proceeds from sales of this recording will help support our music.
"Challenger displays technical wizardry and infinite sonic variety throughout."The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks"Challenger luxuriates in the big-boned Britishness of this splendid instrument, turning Franck’s generously proportioned structures into monumental, statuesque edifices, full of pomposity, regality and opulence [...] showcasing potential for an instrument he so clearly adores."Gramophone, Marc Rochester"Challenger gets right inside this wonderful music – throughout the disc Franck’s music feels gorgeously evocative."Church Times, Roderic Dunnett"A musician that has the chops to understand the music, recast it for Salisbury thanks to a thorough understanding of that organ’s complex character, and play it with the gravitas and the subtlety required is rare indeed, and the disc is welcome because of that."Hi-Fi+ Magazine, Alan Sircom"His performances are uniformly excellent, and the recording is equally first-rate."The Organ, James Palmer"Very recommendable."Choir & Organ, Chris Bragg"With Challenger's respectful and very musical approach this is a truly special album ... the angelic father Franck on a heavenly Father Willis."orgelniews.nl"Superb playing."Cathedral Music Magazine, David Thorne
Recorded in Salisbury Cathedral on 30, 31 January and 1 February 2018
Engineer, Producer and Editor: Andrew Post
Photography: Ash Mills