JOHN ALCOCK: Ten Voluntaries/HENRY HERON: Ten Voluntaries
Owen, Barbara, The American Organist
JOHN ALCOCK: Ten Voluntaries; HENRY HERON: Ten Voluntaries. Edited by Greg Lewin. Greg Lewin, UK price, ?10. These two volumes are part of a quite extensive se- ries of editions by Lewin (see his Web site, www.greglewin.co.uk). His offerings are chiefly from the 18th-century English repertoire, some of which were formerly not accessible in complete modern scholarly editions. In addition to new editions of works by Stanley, Boyce, Greene, and Walond, Lewin has also produced editions of voluntaries by Nares, Thorley, Keeble, Roseingrave, and Russell, along with these most recent editions of Alcock and Heron and a few volumes of French Baroque composers and earlier English writers such as Tomkins. Alcock and Heron were both active in the latter half of the 18th century, and Lewin's edition is taken directly from their original imprints, dated 1774 and 1765, respectively. Although, like many voluntaries published in this period, they are designated as being "for the Organ or Harpsichord," the "harpsichord" part is merely a publisher's gimmick to sell more copies, for these pieces, replete with original manual changes and registrations, are plainly organ music. In the postStanley period, most published voluntaries (with occasional variants by composers such as Roseingrave and Russell) followed fairly predictable patterns. They were usually in two (occasionally more) segments, the first being short and slow, usually on Open and Stopped Diapasons 8', full organ, or the Swell, the second longer and livelier, and, unless fugai, designed to make use of the typical solo stops of the 18th-century English organ - Cornet, Flute 4', or various reeds (Trumpet, Hautboy, Cremona; sometimes Horn or Vox Humana) - as well as the "Echo," or short-compass Swell.
Alcock, in a manner reminiscent of French practice, subtitles his voluntaries by their registrations; thus we have "Trumpet & Echo," "Cremona & Hoboy Echo," "Echo's & French Horn," "Cornet & Echo," "Echo's & Flute," etc. …