Perhaps unsurprisingly, organ recitals have been the most frequent events in this year’s St Andrew’s Lunchtime Series. They give the instrument a regular workout, while encouraging each artist to bring something different to the table, programme-wise.
In this respect, Jeremy Clark’s choice of repertoire was ideal, themed around an imaginary round-trip to Paris, with a brief stopover in Blighty along the way.
The Grand Chœur by Dubois provided a suitably stirring Parisian opening, followed by a plaintive Bach Chorale Prelude, the link here being fellow-German-composer Felix Mendelssohn, who championed his predecessor’s music in England, whenever Felix was here, and which then provided the ideal aperitif to Jeremy’s next piece, Mendelssohn’s own C minor Sonata.
Frank Bridge’s Allegretto grazioso afforded a delicate amuse-bouche before three short numbers by Andrew Carter – A Cipher, Tuning Slides, and Gremlins on the Great – each of which musically alluding to one of the niggles organists occasionally encounter. This gave Jeremy the opportunity to make a heartfelt plea for anyone sufficiently skilled in electronics to come forward, and help resolve the ongoing technical issues currently besetting St Andrew’s own instrument, before a staggeringly-expensive rebuild becomes the only option left.
Francis Jackson’s Chorale Prelude on East Acklam, and Three Pieces for Withycombe by Jackson’s York Minster successor concluded the English sojourn, before another spirited Grand Chœur – this time by Salomé – whisked us back to the French capital.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
(This concert look place on August 16, 2017.)
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