Underpinning 21st-century virtuosity with a moving story of continent-crossings both musical and personal, Rachel Mahon's debut recital album surveys a century of organ music from Mahon's native Canada, presenting it on a British instrument which is itself a testimony to the generosity of Canadian music-lovers in the difficult years of post-war reconstruction. In 1952 Healey Willan, an organist and composer born in England in 1880 but resident in Canada since 1913, presented the Provost of Coventry Cathedral with a cheque from the Royal Canadian College of Organists, representing a sizeable donation from the College's members and the Canadian public towards the cost of an organ for the new cathedral, which opened in 1962. Having made the opposite move to Willan, from Canada to the UK, Mahon is now Assistant Director of Music at the cathedral. Her recital opens with Willan's own, Bachian Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue and follows it with items by his student Gerald Bales and by Ruth Watson Henderson, before culminating in another work of transcontinental influence, Rachel Laurin's impressive contribution to the French organ symphony tradition.
"Rachel Mahon has done Canadian organ music proud in this outstanding recording"
"Mahon plays with presence and muscularity to match her fireproof virtuosity....Tremendous stuff!"
"Vibrant music making, brilliantly performed and recorded"
"one of the major organ releases of 2020"
"Rachel Mahon gives a sweeping performance that culminates in a tumultuous fugue...[including] a chorale theme which shows off Mahon's briliiant registrations."
"The Canadian organist Rachel Mahon offers thrilling advocacy for her country's music"
"merits repeated listening for numerous reasons...[Mahon] is a superb performer with a keen ability to craft a satisfying program and her debut recording is highly recommended"
"...music played with panache, delicate attention to detail, and deep understanding. Let's hope Mahon is planning another."