An immaculate introduction to Russell

On the strength of this superbly performed disc by organist John Kitchen, William Russell should be far better known.

Composer: Russell
Repertoire: Complete Organ Voluntaries
Artists: John Kitchen (organ)
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Instrumental
Label: Delphian DCD 34062

Hands up who has ever heard of William Russell (1777-1813). No, neither had I, but from this immaculately presented and superbly played three-disc set we should have done. The voluntaries were published in two sets of twelve (1804 and 1812) and have four, three or two movements. We can hear in them the unmistakable influences of Stanley, Handel and Haydn, yet also the prescient sounds of early Romanticism. The 1829 Bishop organ of St James’s, Bermondsey, sounds an ideal instrument for the enterprising John Kitchen to introduce us to Russell. My guess is that organists will be queuing up to follow in his footsteps.