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Transcriptions for organ of works by Sir Edward Elgar ,

John Challenger,

Salisbury Cathedral Organ

SKU: REGCD463 Categories: ,


Young organist John Challenger in his debut solo recording presents a selection of virtuoso transcriptions for organ of some of the best-loved orchestral works of Elgar, played on the organ of Salisbury Cathedral.

The orchestral originals are given a new guise as idiomatic organ solos, bought to life through the glorious tone colours of the Father Willis organ in Salisbury Cathedral – regarded as one of the finest romantic organs in the world, and ideal for the realisation of these transcriptions.

In addition to existing transcriptions by distinguished Edwardian organists contemporary with Elgar – Alfred Redhead, George C Martin, Herbert Brewer, C H Trevor, and Harvey Grace – the disc includes new arrangements of Elgar works by Tom Winpenny and John Challenger himself.

John Challenger has been Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral since September 2012. He received his musical education as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral under Dr Roy Massey and Geraint Bowen, and as an Organ Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, under Andrew Nethsingha. At St John’s College, he accompanied the choir for services, broadcasts, international tours, and appeared as the organist on four critically-acclaimed recordings under the Chandos label. He has studied the organ with David Briggs, Jeremy Filsell, Mark Williams, and the late David Sanger, and he obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists in 2008.


Track List

Prelude to The Kingdom: Jerusalem Op. 51 — arr John Challenger (b. 1988)
Une Idylle Op. 4, No. i — arr Alfred Redhead (1855–1937)
Imperial March Op. 32 — arr George Clement Martin (1844–1916)
Meditation from The Light of Life Op. 29 — arr Challenger
Coronation March Op. 65 — arr Herbert Brewer (1865–1928)
Larghetto from Serenade for Strings Op. 20, No. ii — arr Caleb Henry Trevor (1895–1976)
For the Fallen Op. 80 No. iii — arr Harvey Grace (1874–1944)
Empire March — arr Tom Winpenny (b. 1983)
Prelude and Angel’s Farewell from The Dream of Gerontius Op. 38 — arr Brewer
Angel’s Farewell

Total Playing time: 77:56

Production credits

Recorded in Salisbury Cathedral 22–24 October, 2014 by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter

Recording producer and engineer Andrew Post

Sample audio extracts


‘The performances could not be better, and the sound of the organ is thrilling. Extensive notes and specifications. A delight.’ American Record Guide July 2015

‘There is nothing 1 can say that can begin to convey the technical brilliance. artistry. musicality and seemingly effortless organ management of John Challenger.
If you love the Salisbury organ (and who wouldn’t?) and adore Elgar, (and who doesn’t?) here is a match made in heaven, flawless! Phenomenal! BUY IT!!’ Organists’ Review September 2015

‘It is often telling when the resident organist records on their home instrument, and here there is a very winning connection between Salisbury’s‘Father’ Willis, the music of Elgar and the performer. This has clearly been a labour of love for Challenger, with two fine transcriptions of his own in the mix. As well as clever and imaginative use of colour in the registrations, Challenger plays with the lightness of a pianist, entirely necessary for some of the more flamboyant textures in Elgar’s scores such as the Coronation March of 1911. The Larghetto from Serenade to Strings makes a welcome contrast to the bravura and drama of Elgar’s numerous marches.’ Choir & Organ July 2015

‘Challenger plays extremely conscientiously and carefully, without prejudice to spontaneity. The recording is as we are used to from the premium label Regent. The Double Open Diapason 32 ‘of the pedal you can feel. Delicious.’ Translated from Orgelnieuws.nl April 2015