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Given its unabashed English romantic accent, Selby Abbey’s 1909 Hill organ is a surprising choice for an all-Bach programme. A rewarding one, too. Ashley Grote proves an eloquent interlocutor between music and machine, staking the claims of both with a bold, all-stops firing opening to the C minor Passacaglia (BWV 582), complete with 32ft Contra Trombone. Especially pleasing are a trio of Fugues; BWV 564 brimming with dancing delicacy, BWV 542 irrepressibly bright and nimble (its companion Fantasy dispatched with appropriately contrasted drama), BWV 552 boasting a majestic opening. Throughout, Grote provides considered playing abetted by adroitly chosen registrations that bring a burnished mahogany quality to Bach’s music.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica


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