With the variety of instrumentalists and singers taking part in this year’s series of Summer Recitals at St Andrew’s, it’s all too easy to forget that the church still has one of the largest, and indeed finest organs in the whole of the South West.
David Stevens’s programme was not only well played, but moreover showed off the organ in its very best Romantic colours. It also proved a successful blend of well-known, and less-familiar repertoire, guaranteed to keep the large audience on side throughout.
Dubois’s Toccata made an impressive start, where David exhibited neat articulation on both manuals and pedals, while making an effective use of registration, something that was also very apparent in works by Boëllmann and Lemmens respectively.
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor is arguably the most celebrated work for the instrument, but can often sound really hackneyed. Here David ensured that his interpretation successfully breathed new life into this old warhorse.
Bach’s Adagio in A minor made effective use of solo stops, as did Armstrong Gibbs’s plaintive Lyric Melody, and Wesley’s delicate Air and Gavotte. Dubois’s arrangement of Mendelssohn’s triumphant War March of the Priests provided a highly-effective finale to this most enjoyable recital, topped by an equally-exciting rendition of Warlock’s Mattachins from his Capriol Suite, ear-splitting discords and all, by way of a hugely-deserved encore.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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