Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
1:02 AM 17th February 2024

Classical Music: Luna Anna Lapwood


James Newton HowardFlying (from Peter Pan; Olivia Belli Grain Moon; Chopin Nocturne Op. 9, No.2; Kristina Arakelyan Dreamland; Dario Marianelli Dawn (Pride and Prejudice; Hans Zimmer Stay (from Interstellar; Bach & Gounod Ave Maria; Philip Glass Mad Rush; Ghislaine Reece In Paradisum; Ēriks Ešenvalds & Sara Teasdale Stars; Kristina Arakelyan Star Fantasy; Max Richter On the Nature of daylight;Florence Beatrice Price An Elf on a Moonbeam Ludovico Einaudi Experience; Debussy Clair de Lune.

Anna Lapwood plays the organ of Royal Hospital Chapel, Chelsea.

Sony Classical 19658831402

Anna Lapwood's meteoric rise to fame is justly deserved. A natural communicator, Lapwood has curated a programme that demonstrates her skill as one of the country’s foremost organists. Instead of opting for ostentatious, showy-loud compositions, this is a disc that shrewdly captures the full textures of the quieter ranks of pipes with sensitivity and balance.

She is also a skilled transcriber, as many of the pieces on this album show. Many are her own transcriptions, where her depth of knowledge and understanding of the organ is exemplified. 

It’s quite refreshing to hear the result of her expert registrations that let the tonal colours of the more delicate and elegant, quieter resonant pipes permeate through an atmospheric soundscape to create an ambience that takes the listener to a predominantly diaphanous world. 

Be prepared to sit back and hear the king of instruments dazzle in unexpected ways. Whether it be Chopin’s Nocture in E flat or an Elf on a Moonbeam, Lapwood creates glorious diminuendos, which are just as exciting as her well-controlled crescendos. In creating such a splendid disc, Lapwood immersed herself in the milieu of the Royal Hospital School Chapel, Chelsea, spending 30 hours getting to know the organ and its capabilities. It has certainly reaped rewards for the listener. There is also a bonus: the Pembroke College Chapel Choir at Cambridge, which Lapwood conducts, appears on two tracks.

She uses the building to create sound that grabs the listener with such intensity that the drama is never lost and her transcriptions, such as La Mer, lose none of their validity.

One of the highlights of my year is the time I spend teaching music in Zambia. I love it for the people, the music & the laughter, but I also always look forward to the first time I see the Zambian night sky again. You look up and it’s just completely full of stars.

Bright stars, dull stars; some twinkling, some static; some glowing orbs and others dots smaller than pinpricks. With this album, I’m imagining we’re standing there, gazing at the sky, overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we can see. I’m imagining that as we stare upwards, our minds can almost take us there, travelling through the night sky and exploring individual stars with their unique personalities and characteristics.
Anna Lapwood