Canadian Organ Music on the Organ of Coventry Cathedral

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.

"Mahon plays with presence and muscularity to match her fireproof virtuosity, and her time as organ scholar at St Paul’s Cathedral seems to have given her an intuitive sense of how to use large acoustics to dramatic ends.

The repertoire well suits the Coventry organ, and the recorded sound is both exciting and atmospheric.

Tremendous stuff"

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"It is difficult to imagine a more impressive location for these four substantial organ works by Canadian composers of the past 100 years...Here is as stirring a performance as you could wish for, greatly enhanced by an outstanding recording from Delphian that encompasses the vast dynamic and pitch range of the Coventry organ superbly...

Rachel Mahon has done Canadian organ music proud in this outstanding recording"


"No disc of Canadian organ music would be complete without Healey Willan’s Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue…Mahon gives a sweeping performance that culminates in a tumultuous fugue…Piquant harmonies in the Symphony No. 1 by Rachel Laurin are handled with light virtuosity before the work ends with a blazing toccata"

"Canadian organ music played on an English cathedral organ, performed by a Canadian organist working in the UK. It seems straightforward enough but, if one looks into the historical relationship between Canada and Coventry, a much deeper and meaningful relationship is quickly uncovered … Rachel Laurin’s Symphony No.1 is simply breathtaking in its immensity and dramatic content …

This disc merits repeated listening for numerous reasons, both historical and immediately practical. Mahon, recently appointed the next director of music at Coventry, is a superb performer with a keen ability to craft a satisfying program, and her debut recording is highly recommended"


"Vibrant music making, brilliantly performed and recorded, and with some magnificent annotations by Giles Bryant thrown in for good measure. Rachel Mahon has done Canadian organ music and Delphian Records proud in this memorable issue. Recommended."


Producer: Paul Baxter

Recording venue: Coventry Cathedral

Recording dates: 22-24 April 2019

Release Date: 29 November 2019

Album ID: DCD34234

Total playing time: 1:01:03

Featured Interview


Rachel Mahon on her debut recording

Rachel joins Mark Wigmore on Toronto's Classical FM to chat about releasing the release of her debut album.


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