GMCD 7149 – David Liddle plays Hollins, Widor, Wood & Liddle

David Liddle – Organ

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Gramophone – February 1999 Issue

Played on the Montrone Organ of the of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York

A stunning disc. The 1992-3 Mander instrument is in glorious voice and is superlatively handled by David Liddle. His own 14 variations on Mit Freuden zart make a refreshing foil to Widor’s Symphonie Gothique. Hollins’s fine Concert Overture No. 2 and Frederic Wood’s Scenes in Kent are equally enjoyable. Strongly recomended
Malcolm Riley

Organists’ Review – November 1998 Issue

From the opening chords of the Concert Overture, my favourite Hollins work, it is clear that a musician is at work. Just listen to how beautifully blaced and spaced this opening is – majestic yet not stolid, aware of the resonance yet not in thrall to it, and avove all, so clearly attuned to Hollins’ own mind. This deeply thoughtful and musical approach is typical of Liddle; it always has been, sometimes to the detriment of his projection, but with age and experience has come added personality and breadth of his playing.

Liddle’s own Variations on ” Mit Freuden zart”, a substantial nineteen-minute work, clearly has ist stylistic origins in works such as Bach’s K Sei gegrüsset, indeed using a Sarabande as the penultimate variation directly recalls that work. But these fourteen variations are so much more than neo-Baroquism. They have as much to say as Flor Peeters at his best, and furthermore, they combine a certain Englishness with hints of the French influences which must have come Liddle’s way as he studied with André Marchal, that complex exponent of the French new-Baroque approach.

The French influence of course is at work in Liddle’s mature response to Widor’s 1895 Op. 70 Symphonie Gothique, a work very far removed form the youthful exuberance of the Op. 13 and 42 organ Symphonies. If Liddle fails, marginally, to project the sheer vastness of this canvass, it is arguably to the greater good of the parts. He brings to it a reflective sense of spaciousness, and illuminating response to the detail often lost in a more grandiose performance. Never have I found my attention brought to more layers of interest in this, Widor’s most spacious composition. I suppose only a performance at St-Ouen, Rouen, with its monumental and unique Cavaillé-Coll, which inspired the work, can truly bring out the totality of its ‘Gothic’ character.

It is a touch of genius to sandwich two profound ant intense works of such length between more immediately appealing pieces. It the Hollins forms an ideal overture, then the charming morceaux by F.H. Wood (1880-1963) act almost as a relaxing encore. I have sometimes wondered how a Lancashire organist in his early forties came to know north-east Kent well enough to write this affectionate tribute; perhaps family holidays are the answer – but Kent was certainly not a typical spot for northerners to holiday in those days, and certainly not the Midway area. Whatever the reason these little pieces are a delight. David Liddle plays them with the same attention to detail as if they had been masterpieces, and with same ear for colour which makes his handling of Mander’s finest organ such a pleasure throughout this concert.

Guild’s Cdbooklet is well-presented, with excellent and informative notes form Felix Aprahamian and – a lovely touch – a viigorous painting of Mr. Aprahamian’s delightful garden, by Jill Bamber (David Liddle’s mother), adorning the cover. A MUST FOR YOUR COLLECTION.
Paul Hale