THE ORGANIST (THE
T.C. LEWIS ORGAN OF ALBION CHURCH)
SCOTT - SBDRCD006
Date: February/April 2012
Reviewer: James Palmer
Jonathan Scott plays the TC Lewis Organ of Albion Church,
the best recording of an organ in a church I have heard in
many years. The quality of the sound is very fine, as one
may hear at the outset - the opening Allegro movement of Widor's
Sixth Symphony in G minor. The microphone placing appears
to be ideal, and the full sound of this remarkable late 19th-
century Lewis organ is well caught without a trace of overload.
This is claimed to be the first recording ever made on this
instrument, but I trust it will not be the last. Jonathan
Scott has selected a mixture of short items (Mozart's K 608
Fantasia is the longest, at 9'59''; Herbert Brewer's Chanson
de Matin - see page 36 for Jerrold Northrop Moore's feature
on Elgar's organ music in this issue - is the shortest, at
2'47"), which work extremely well.
really fine playing on an unfairly neglected instrument (so
far as commercial recordings of it are concerned), and all
in all it came as something of a revelation to me. I hope
that Jonathan Scott goes on to record some major late 19th-century
repertoire on this organ - he and the instrument deserve it.
The booklet contains excellent notes on the music by the organist,
a full specification and short history of the organ, and some
striking colour photographs. A most impressive achievement.
Publication: Pipeline - In the Pipeline (Organ Society of
Date: February 2012
Reviewer: Pastór de Lasala
On reading the biography
of Jonathan Scott, one can hardly fail to be impressed by
the breadth of music activity in which he is involved. Apart
from being an organist, he is also a harpsichordist, pianist
and play the harmonium. In addition to arranging and transcribing
works, he has recorded piano music for television. Jonathan
collaborates as a duo with his pianist brother, Tom. Together,
they have produced over 20 CDs to great acclaim on their own
The 1895 T.C. Lewis organ at Albion Church at Ashton-Under-Lyne
is largely original, having undergone a rebuilding by Rushworth
& Dreaper in 1953, the work including the provision of
a new console, electro-pneumatic action, the removal of the
Tuba from the Solo swell box and the borrowing of two pedal
stops. The current instrument has 4 manuals and pedals with
47 stops. As a matter of comparison, it is the younger sister
to the important Lewis organ of 53 stops in St Paul's Melbourne
If the ingredients for a successful CD are a diverse programme,
playing coming from the heart, variety of tone colour and
communicating with the listener, Jonathan Scott ticks all
the boxes. By his own admission in the introduction to the
liner notes, Scott uses the words 'excitement' and 'sheer
enjoyment' in his desire to present this wonderful instrument.
From the start of Widor's majestic Allegro from the 6th Symphony
until the 1st Symphony, one cannot help but empathise with
the successful musical marriage of the performer's passion
in the playing and his being at one with the instrument.
The programme flows like a well organised banquet with judiciously
selected musical 'sorbets' providing a foil and aural relief
to the larger works. This factor plus the sheer array of colour
create a very pleasurable listening experience. Scott has
seen fit to include some of his own transcriptions, all of
them very popular works, but completely reworked here to good
effect: the very pleasant pace of the Pachelbel's Canon is
complemented by fluid upper parts and tonal hues.
Guilmant's March upon Handel's' Lift up your head, with its
ceremonial strides and contrasting contrapuntal central section,
is beautifully framed between the deliciously darting impish
figures in Bossi's Scherzo which return no less mischievous
as Elves in Bonnet's eponymous work.
Scotts fine technique and clarity are most evident here.
The delightful episodes in the Widor are
no less spectacular, especially the notorious complicated
one with its multiple rhythms. If colour is a main feature
of this CD, Ravels Pavane pour une Infante Défunte
is a prime example of this with its line up of gorgeous solo
reed voices. Lewis Tuba - now fortuitously unenclosed
- makes its noble appearance the Cocker Tuba Tune.
Indeed, Mozart would have been satisfied to hear his Fantasy
on such a substantial instrument. After all, he did call the
organ the king of instruments'. The author was
particularly reminded of the Mozartian epithet some years
ago whilst seated at his Edegacher instrument in Salzburg
Cathedral. Whilst we are treated to the grandeur of this sizeable
work with large choruses, the luscious episodes on the exquisite
harmonic flute are a pointed reminder of the more humble origins
of this piece which was written for a diminutive organ clock.
Without intending to look for any negatives, there is only
one small detail which stands out: the closing Allargando
section of the Gigout Toccata. This reviewer feels that there
should have been a clear break rather than drive on to the
end. Although the distinct advantage of this is to clear
the air in the very generous acoustic of a French cathedral,
it also serves to prepare the change of rhythmic movement
in the closing bars. This is only a very minor and subjective/stylistic
point which should not, in any way, detract from the overall
brilliance of performance of the work.
Being a fold out format, the presentation case and twelve-page
booklet of this CD has excellent photos of the organs
two cases, the church interior and the performer. Scott has
supplied succinct liner notes on the pieces, details of the
organ and its specification. The whole product is handsomely
and thoughtfully presented and may be purchased online from
their website. The website is most definitely worth visiting
and therein can be found a wealth of information. The recordings
page has tempting samples of both solo and duo works. Loosen
to purse strings and indulge. The France may have its Labeque
sisters, but the UK has the Scott brothers.