Tom Winpenny: Williamson, Organ Music


If often helps to understand a composer: an on-line obituary to Williamson compared him to fellow Oz ex-pats Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer and Clive James, leaving a “culturally deadening” Australia. The obit noted: “It is possible that some of his headline-making indiscretions at the expense of the fashionable would have remained private if he’d been a lifelong teetotaller,” which is splendidly diplomatic.

CD1 Peace Pieces, is the more challenging, as there are six pieces, and each bitty, so it’s a discontinuous feel. We’re guessing the pieces are technically challenging. They are varied, to say the least: Peace In Childhood has a vaguely nursery rhyme repetition in its build-up; Peace In Solitude is not a very relaxing piece, possibly the lonely brain being jumbled with ideas; Peace In America has an unsettling section in the middle reflecting Vietnam.

The second disc is more approachable in places, opening with the dramatic Résurgence du Feu. Epitaphs for Edith Sitwell are slightly unsettling, in places a deep bass note swimming through like Jaws. Little Carols of the Saints on the other hand is rather delicate and beautiful, as is Fantasy On This Is My Father’s World. This was recorded at St John the Evangelist, London. A challenging listen.

Out on Naxos, 8571375-76.

Go to your local indie record store or click below to buy.


About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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