There is arguably something almost magical about English organ music played on an instrument by an English organ builder in an English cathedral set in the English countryside. So, Priory's recording of Daniel Cook playing music by Walter Alcock, his illustrious predecessor at Salisbury Cathedral, on the Willis organ had my attention from the start.

Walter Alcock was an imaginative composer who seems to have enjoyed exploring the organ's resources and exploiting them to great effect. Daniel Cook is, likewise, a very talented musician who makes the most of Alcock's instrument and his music which ranges from meditative to majestic, with harmonies that vary from lyrical to mind-boggling.

In the space of 77 minutes, the listener is taken on a tour of the Salisbury Cathedral organ from sublime celestes to raging tubas, plus everything in between, including exquisite solo voices. The fine music, faultless playing, and fabulous organ all seem to combine to create what might be described as "a right Romantic romp" through everything that's English.

This recording is quite possibly unique among my own collection of organ CDs and I have no hesitation in giving it five-out-of-five and thoroughly recommending it to anyone who wants to enhance their own collection.

A comprehensive 16-page booklet accompanies the CD, giving details of Alcock, his music, and the organ at Salisbury Cathedral. For more information, click here.

Stephen D. Smith