Hyperion Records

Fantaisie sur deux mélodies anglaises, Op 43
tunes 'Home, Sweet Home'; 'Rule, Britannia'

'Organ Fireworks, Vol. 2' (CDA66258)
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 2
Track 6 on CDA66258 [8'52] Archive Service

Fantaisie sur deux mélodies anglaises, Op 43
If the English were for Napoleon a nation of shopkeepers, then for his compatriot Alexandre Guilmant they were evidently a people of 'Home, Sweet Home' and 'Rule Britannia'.

These are the two pieces on which this Fantaisie is based. After an introduction, 'Home, Sweet Home' emerges quietly before receiving a varied accompaniment from the flutes, answered, and with great dexterity, in some astonishing writing for the pedals. Then 'Rule Britannia' announces itself in fugal imitation to conclude the piece triumphantly.

This is music designed for self-display by its composer, who was also an international concert organist. The overt showmanship of the Fantaisie makes it difficult to believe that Guilmant was also a respected musicologist and the man who rescued much ancient French music from oblivion.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1988

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